Mayor and Assembly Headed to a Showdown Over Pricing

City Hall and the New York State Assembly may be headed to the biggest showdown since Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton met on the dueling grounds at Weehawken (crossing the river back then was free but you had to use a row boat). Erik Engquist and Anne Michaud report in today’s Crain’s Insider:

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG didn’t seem to be in the mood to compromise on his congestion pricing plan when he told a Crain’s forum late last month that the Legislature shouldn’t be "micromanaging" his proposal. But members of the Assembly aren’t ready to give way.

Some Assembly Democrats want to reduce the area covered by the fees; in PlaNYC 2030, the mayor proposed that vehicles be charged below 86th Street. Assembly members also want to cut the hours that fees are in effect; the mayor’s proposal would levy the charge between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays.

They also question why New Jersey commuters would pay so little to get into Manhattan. PlaNYC would let drivers deduct bridge and tunnel tolls from the $8-per-car charge. For example, after paying the $6 eastbound Lincoln Tunnel toll, they would pay only a $2 fee.

Charging the full $8 would increase annual revenue from congestion pricing to $1 billion, says one ranking Assembly member. But the move would draw opposition from New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

The Assembly’s desire to negotiate changes is sure to lead to a showdown. City Hall is facing an early August deadline to qualify for federal funds.

  • Spud Spudly

    Showdown? The Mayor needs the Assembly. They don’t need him.

    With all the details yet to be worked out what responsible legislator could vote for this half-baked scheme? If the Mayor was really concerned about Washington’s $500 million he would have ironed out the details a long time ago, instead of just saying, “Trust me, we’ll work it out AFTER you vote on it.”

  • James

    WITHOUT CONGESTION PRICING WE COULD ALL BE NEEDING BOATS TO GET AROUND MANHATTAN

    WAKE UP NOW! OUR CLIMATE IS CHANGING! POLLUTION IS AT A NEW TIME HIGH!

  • What a circus. All for a pathetic, piddling “remedy”. We must mobilize grass-roots power soon.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Grassroots? The Mayor’s entire political premise is to avoid the “grassroots” and jam it through the Legislature. If the grassroots were to be mobilized the City Council would be joining in this fight. As is, it is not. Worse than sitting on the sidelines the City Council members are pursuing personal political agendas (term-limited as they are) revolving around small, parochial NIMBY issues supposedly resolved by downzoning (which only makes transit less efficient at a time when congestion pricing strives to make transit more efficient). If it doesn’t have the support of the City Council who imagines that it will be supported by the Legislature?

  • momos

    CALL SHELDON SILVER. NOW OR NEVER.

    Sheldon Silver District Office: 212-312-1420

  • Ed Crotch

    Here’s the deal:

    $8.00 is not going to change that many people unless it is for both enetering and exiting, which is like impossible to enforce. Why not just make it $15 flat fee? Anyway, many people get their owrk to pay for their parking or make enough that $8 just does not matter. I’d actually like to see the fee raised to $20!

    As for trucks, well, they have to make deliveries during business hours, so I think they should be exempt.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Mr. Crotch, it’s $8 flat-fee. Entering or exiting, or both.

  • Andrew

    Congestion pricing is important to the future of NYC. Traffic, noise, and pollution already impose tremendous costs of New Yorkers and NYC businesses. The congestion pricing fee pales in comparison to these.

    NYC doesn’t *deserve* to be the world’s greatest city simply because it *has been* in the past. We have to work for it. This is a critical step in that direction.

  • What can we do, as citizens, to try to push the assembly along?

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