Washington pledges funds for NYC congestion pricing

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congestion pricing proposal received a big boost Tuesday from Washington, where the federal government conditionally approved sending $354 million for the plan.

News 12 Staff

Aug 15, 2007, 2:43 AM

Updated 6,180 days ago

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congestion pricing proposal received a big boost Tuesday from Washington, where the federal government conditionally approved sending $354 million for the plan.
The federal funding would come if New York State lawmakers approve a congestion pricing plan by March 2008. State Assembly and Senate members previously agreed to set up a commission exploring a proposal, but the members haven't yet been chosen.
Transportation Secretary Mary Peters doesn't believe Washington's announcement makes this a done deal.
"The state Legislature must provide the necessary authorization for the city's plan within 90 days of convening in January," she said.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, in a statement to News 12, agreed Bloomberg's plan isn't guaranteed to survive the political gauntlet. "While there has been support for the mayor's plan, there has also been strong opposition. I believe it is essential to consider these concerns," Silver said.
In an effort to decrease automobile emissions and reduce traffic, Bloomberg proposed charging fees to commuters entering New York City south of 86th Street during the week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cars would be charged $8, while trucks would be charged $21. Bloomberg said he hopes it'll encourage more people to use public transportation.
Although congestion pricing likely wouldn't be enacted until 2009 at the earliest, Long Island commuters are already revved up.
"I think it's absurd," said Hedy Dolan, of West Babylon. "The cost of gasoline, general upkeep of cars, insurance and everything - it's just adding fuel to the fire."
Robert Sinclair, of the Automobile Club of New York, has come out against the added tolls. "Some studies show it's only going to make 6 to 10 mph difference in the amount of speed that someone is traveling across Manhattan. That's nothing."
State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel believes the endeavor's worthwhile. "We're all going to benefit from it," she said. "The economy [and] our health all depend on mass transit solutions."


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