Detractors Find Congestion Pricing Facts in Short Supply

locked.jpg 

Add the Queens Chamber of Commerce to the list of pre-emptive congestion pricing foes.

The chamber’s Legislative Advocacy Committee has prepped a report on the "harmful effects" of congestion pricing on businesses, and chamber members are also reportedly spreading the word.

Writing in the chamber newsletter, Queensborough, QCC President Raymond J. Irrera espouses the usual rhetoric regarding "punishing" motorists with a "tax." Irrera fans the flames by citing the "dire negative impact" congestion charging supposedly had on downtown London.

Also in Queensborough, City Council Member Tony Avella refers to vague "serious financial consequences" of New York’s non-existent congestion pricing plan, and takes the opportunity to plug his legislative proposal to ban the city from "imposing tolls or other charges on any and all bridges controlled by the New York City Department of Transportation." Avella finds himself in good company on the council, which appears on the verge of enacting its own anti-business initiative.

Thing is, the London experience shows that overall business does not suffer from congestion charging. According to Malcolm Murray-Clark, who runs the London program and who visited New York a few weeks ago, a very small number of auto-dependent businesses were negatively affected there. This could be because, among other reasons, while the number of car trips into London’s central business district was reduced by 31 percent, the number of people entering the CBD dropped by just two percent.

Murray-Clark was careful to point out that congestion pricing is no "panacea," and that implementing the plan successfully required a lot of give-and-take between government and the private sector. Seeing as how other New York business leaders have pegged the cost of gridlock at $13 billion a year — not to mention all those inconvenient side effects — maybe honest dialogue would be a better course than unsubstantiated hysteria.

Photo: latca/Flickr

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Queens Chamber Continues Campaign Against Congestion Pricing

|
Foes of congestion pricing marshalled by the Queens Chamber of Commerce held a press conference yesterday at which several politicians from the borough took a stand against the mayor’s plan. According to a press release provided by the chamber, City Council Finance Chair David Weprin called the proposal unnecessary: "I don’t think City Hall understands […]

Resolved: More Traffic Congestion & Automobile Dependence

|
Brooklyn City Councilmember Lew Fidler and a small group of his outer borough colleagues have put forward Resolution 774 "calling upon the Mayor of New York City to oppose the institution of any form of congestion pricing." The resolution is based on a March 2006 report commissioned by the Queens Chamber of Commerce that was, […]

Anti-Pricing Council Member Has Pro-Parking Industry Fans

|
With one possible exception, no elected official has been more outspoken against congestion pricing for New York City than Queens Council Member David Weprin. A scan of the city’s campaign finance database reveals over 20,000 reasons why that could be. It may not be a significant amount in relative terms, but since taking office in […]

What Western Queens Stands to Lose Without Congestion Pricing

|
Queens residents crash Friday’s anti-pricing rally We’ve received several reports that Friday’s anti-pricing rally on the Queens side of the 59th Street Bridge, spearheaded by City Council Member Tony Avella, was a bust. According to our sources, of the council members slated to attend — Avella, Leroy Comrie, Melinda Katz, David Weprin "and other possible […]

Bloomberg: It’s Up to Albany to Revive Congestion Pricing

|
If congestion pricing is going to resurface as a viable option to relieve traffic, help plug the enormous gap in the MTA capital program, and keep transit fares from ballooning in the years ahead, it won’t come from the Bloomberg administration. Testifying in Albany on Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal today, Bloomberg said he won’t get […]