As they did in 2008, and in years prior, state legislators left Manhattan congestion pricing out of the budget. They did include a $2.75 per-ride surcharge on for-hire vehicles. That’s a little something, but not enough.
Congestion pricing should have been implemented 10 years ago, but I’m sure we’ll be talking about it again in another decade.
If you attended or watched one of the Live Earth concerts today, you might feel compelled to take action. Don’t let that feeling subside, pick up a copy of The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook. Even if you didn’t go, you should be able to use many of the 77 tips provided in the book. For a sample, take a look at the “Ride a Bike” chapter posted on Streetsblog.
City Room is running a series in which DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan answers reader questions. Commissioner Sadik-Khan has already posted parts one and two of her answers and will continue to post more throughout the week.
So far, the commissioner’s answers lean towards the reserved. However, she seems very willing to experiment with things. One example of this type of thinking is clear in this reference to the congestion pricing proposal:
We’re not trying to lock the city into anything for all time. We want to try it, see how it works and see if we need to change it.
It’s very refreshing to hear this coming from the DOT commissioner. This willingness to try new things is much more important than any single answer she can offer this early in her tenure. I wish her much luck in transforming the DOT into a more agile and responsive agency. It certainly sounds like she is on the right path.
During Mayor Bloomberg’s Earth Day Speech he stated that he is seeking a pilot program to implement congestion pricing in Manhattan:
In setting the fee, there’s no magic number, but it has to be high enough to encourage more people to switch to mass transit and low enough not to break the bank – for businesses and for those who have to drive. Based on thorough analysis and the experience of other cities, we believe that an $8 charge would achieve these goals. There are many different ways that this system could work in New York.
As a test run, we will seek state authority for a three year pilot project, and we are very optimistic that, in working with state officials, we will secure hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for it.
This was just one of the PlaNYC 2030 proposals he spoke about today. Hopefully this congestion pilot project can begin before the end of Bloomberg’s final term as Mayor.
It sounds like Mayor Bloomberg is about to propose congestion pricing in Manhattan. The official announcement might come on Sunday. If he does propose congestion pricing, it will still be far from becoming a reality since there will be plenty of resistance.
It’s great to see the mayor getting behind this. Without his support, it’s doubtful that anything will happen on this front. So, let’s hope he does announce this officially on Sunday.