PlaNYC and Pricing Legislation Introduced. Download it Here.

Exclusive to Streetsblog, at least for the next few minutes, here is S. 6068, the New York State Senate’s congestion pricing legislation, or, as it is also known:

AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to establishing a congestion pricing program in the city of New York; to amend the public authorities law, in relation to establishing a Sustainable Mobility and Regional Transportation ("SMART") financing authority; to amend the state finance law, in relation to the creation of the Sustainable Mobility and Regional Transportation ("SMART") fund; to amend the public authorities law and the tax law, in relation to the disposition of the city of New York’s personal income tax; to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to establishing residential parking systems in the city of New York; to amend the vehicle and traffic law and the public officers law, in relation to establishing in a city with a population of one million or more a bus rapid transit demonstration program to enforce bus lane restrictions by means of bus lane photo devices and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof; and to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to treating violations of obstructing traffic in intersections as a parking violation… etc. etc. etc.

Download all 154 pages right here and let us know if you see any surprises because we haven’t even had a chance to read it yet.

Meanwhile, the Daily Politics notes:

What’s fascinating here is how quickly this bill got drafted.

As recently as Monday I was talking to lawmakers in Albany who said they had not seen a whole bill from the Bloomberg administration, but rather pieces of a bill that had holes large enough to drive a delivery truck through.

  • Steve

    Page 7: contemplates that some roads may be carved out of congestion pricing zone as “free routes” to allow traffic to travel between river crossings:

    “The congestion pricing zone shall also not include free routes between the Lincoln
    tunnel, the Holland tunnel, the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel, the Queens-Midtown tunnel, the
    Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, and the Queensboro Bridge
    and the FDR drive or Route 9A, as applicable, that shall be designated by the city in its sole discretion, provided that the city shall designate such free routes along the most direct and safe route as feasible.”

  • Glenn

    Pilot lasts 3 years at the same charge at which point the Mayor will have 90days to continue. Extend term limits?

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Good call, Steve. I don’t think that people should have the right to drive (say) across 34th Street to get from Queens to New Jersey without paying the charge. 34th Street isn’t congested?

    “In a city with a population of one million or more” is a funny euphemism for “New York City.” What wacky laws would suddenly apply if Buffalo (2000 population: 292,648) annexed enough nearby towns to get its population over 1 million?

    One of the most striking things I read in The Power Broker was how Moses wrote the law creating the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and inserted a section that made it impossible for him to be removed from the TBTA (and its lucrative funding source) without bondholder approval, and that was enough to keep any mayor or governor from firing him from any of his other posts. The only way that Nelson Rockefeller was able to get him out was because his brother David happened to be the chairman of Chase Manhattan, the bondholder. Can anyone find any similar opportunities in this legislation for abuse of power?

    Also, didn’t Spitzer not like the idea of the “SMART” authority (I hate that name)? Apparently he’s been brought around.

    I understand the importance of using these funds for “improving capacity into the borough of Manhattan from areas within the New York city metropolitan area” (page 29), but I think that the development of satellite business districts in places like White Plains and Jamaica is important, and I’m worried that there wouldn’t be money to support “non-radial” commuting.

    I’m disappointed that the bus-lane camera section specifies that it only applies to the five BRT demonstration corridors. That means that any expansion or alteration of the program would require another action by the state legislature. I think it should be at the discretion of the Mayor.

  • steve

    Angus, you are right about the BRT-if the pilot routes work, you shouldn’t have to go back to Albany to expand. There may have been a similar rationale behind enabling “free routes” through the zone–planners may have argued that there must be a quick fix available if unepected disruptions result from pricing–but this provision could result in mischief. The “limitation” that a “free route” make a direct and safe connection between the FDR and 9A is not much of a limitation at all.

  • drose

    I wouldn’t get too worked up over these free routes. My guess this would involve simple connections between the tunnels and the FDR/West Side Highway. For instance, someone would be allowed to exit the Lincoln Tunnel at 41st St and Dyer Avenue, then turn left down 41st St to get to the West Side Highway, all without paying a congestion pricing fee. There are many other instances like this. I can’t imagine 34th St would be free river-to-river to enable someone to go from the Queens-Midtown tunnel to the Lincoln Tunnel without paying. That driver would have to go around the island to avoid the fee.

    My personal favorites from this bill are 1) pg. 28 caps the amount the MTA is allowed to spend on projects connected with Smart to $12bn over the next 20 years, with the City capped at $1.722bn (where do they get these numbers); and 2) the State contribution to the Smart fund starts at $220mm and escalates over three years to 3.05% of city personal income tax receipts. Conspicuous by its absence was any mention of the City’s contribution to the Smart fund, although I am a first-timer at reading a State bill.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    I see what you’re saying, D. On a closer reading it looks like the intent is “free routes between (the Lincoln tunnel, the Holland tunnel, the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel, the Queens-Midtown tunnel, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, and the Queensboro Bridge) and (the FDR drive or Route 9A).” But is that enough to prevent, for example, a future Mayor Weiner from deciding that he wants to make 34th Street a “free route” across the island?

    Also:

    “Truck” means any vehicle or combination of vehicles designed primarily for
    2 the transportation of property.

    The definition of “Truck” should be the same standard that allows SUVs to be classified as “light trucks” for tax purposes.

  • drose

    On this issue alone, Weiner should not get the vote of any Manhattanite living below 86th Street. I’m looking forward to hearing Thompson and Carrion’s words on this also (I think Quinn supports pricing, but am not sure).

    I find it interesting that many of the members of the State Assembly, Senate and City Council who do live in the congestion pricing zone still have not raised there hand in support. For instance my Assemblyperson Linda Rosenthal, who ran on an anti-status quo platform when running to replace Scott Stringer, has not been heard from on this yet. I really hope she is being open-minded on it, and not falling in line behind Status-Quo Shelly.

  • Mozee

    So no discount for disabled drivers who use the vehicle as their simplest means of transportation? What about people driving to a dialysis center for treatment? Driving 6 times a week in and out of the city is not for fun.

  • Angus et. al.,
    Riddle me this:

    The point about trucks–if they mean class 2 trucks under the NY State DOT, that would be any vehicle over 7,000 pounds, or only those over the limit meant to transport property (for commercial purposes)? Can someone clarify for me?

    If truck is only measured by weight limit, than the myriad SUVs trying to get by the CAFE standards by being classified as light trucks would have to pay $21/day? Or do they also have to be commercially licensed? What qualifies as “transportation of property?”

    Would the congestion pricing also be SUV pricing? Interesting follow-up to this old story indeed.
    http://www.streetsblog.org/2006/08/25/brooklyn-bridges-suv-ban-hidden-in-plain-sight/

  • Steve

    Nut, the draft bill would not require the higher truck payment unless a vehicle was shown to be “designed primarily for the transportation of property.” If the city were to interpret this as turning an SUV into a “truck,” they would face a very substantial challenge on grounds of vagueness. This definition is almost certainly intended to make sure that any vehicle with enclosed rear passenger seating is not treated as a “truck.” I love Angus’ idea of offsetting the federal SUV tax incentive with a heightened congestion fee on SUVs, but I don’t see it happening.

  • Charles Albert

    under protest for disabled drivers – there were
    supposed to allow them to drive

    the subway system is not made for the handicapped

    fix the problem first then maybe….

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