For a sense of the challenge that lays ahead for congestion pricing supporters, take a look at the mailer that Brooklyn Democratic State Senator Velmanette Montgomery sent to all of her constituents last week. Montgomery has a smart, engaged staff when it comes to transportation policy and she has often been helpful when it comes to Livable Streets issues.
Her 18th Senatorial District covers Bed-Stuy, Boerum Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, Gowanus and Sunset Park — a swath of Brooklyn that is absolutely pummeled by regional through-traffic and epidemic asthma rates. Clearly, Montgomery’s district stands to gain more than most from reductions in traffic congestion and improvements to mass transit and air quality.
Yet, in her mailing, Montgomery says Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan "is silent as to the benefits for the outer boroughs and for upper Manhattan." For that and other reasons she has "major reservations" about the proposal. Montgomery then presents a number of informational points and objections to the pricing plan while offering no suggestion of any benefits to her constituents.
One of the arguments stands out. Montgomery writes, "The congestion pricing measure will not help asthma sufferers." That one appears to be pulled directly from pricing opponents’ talking points and, by most reliable accounts, is not based in fact.
If the Senate Democrats matter in the coming debate then, clearly, congestion pricing supporters have some work to do.
If you get congestion pricing mailings and letters from your elected officials, please send them to Streetsblog. Find Montgomery’s mailing, in full, after the jump…