Electeds React to Congestion Pricing

Forty-eight hours in, here is what some elected officials are saying about PlaNYC and congestion pricing.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver:

Well, I think it’s a very complicated issue, but, you know, we’ll need to look at it and discuss it with the mayor and discuss it with the members of the conference. The concept of charging money to come to the center of a business district is something that is new to this country, especially in a city like New York. But, again, I would like to see what the proposed benefits are, and I’d like to see what the impact on business is projected to be.

Representative Anthony Weiner:

While I applaud the mayor for focusing on a long-term sustainability plan for the city, in this case the cure seems to be worse than the disease. We must look at innovative ways to face the challenges created by the city’s own success, but a regressive tax on working middle-class families and small-business owners shouldn’t be one of them.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz:

While I remain open to it, any plan must ensure equality among the boroughs, include exemptions for commuters traveling for health and employment reasons, alleviate parking problems — particularly in those Brooklyn neighborhoods closest to the tunnel and bridges — and direct generated revenues to improvements in our public transportation system.

I applaud the mayor’s proposals to improve mass transit, since better public transportation — including an expansion of bus service in neighborhoods not served by subways — is essential for a congestion pricing plan to potentially work. I look forward to reviewing the plan as it develops with the necessary exemptions and requirements.

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion:

I wonder if it is another hidden tax on working people. I worry about people who need to use their cars to get to work.

Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi:

People’s first reaction is they don’t want to pay. But getting them to switch to mass transit benefits us all.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn:

Whether you’re for it or against it, it’s a serious proposal and it deserves serious attention and that’s what it will get from the council.

Council Member Michael E. McMahon, Staten Island:

It is surprising that such a bold vision for New York’s sustainable future would not include a strategy for attacking the region’s greatest source of traffic and air pollution. It is clear that truck traffic is increasing more rapidly than this City can handle, and, unchecked, the consequences could be disastrous. We urge the mayor to expand on the vision he laid-out today to adequately address truck traffic and freight movement as soon as possible.

Council Member David Weprin, Queens:

You’re not talking about wealthy people, $8 a day is an enormous charge for those type of people and something that could really hurt them financially.

Council Member John Liu, Queens:

People drive to work in Manhattan for the most part because taking a local bus for a half hour to the nearest subway and then riding the subway for an hour is not a real option.


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Without congestion pricing, fare hikes will hit New York’s many transit-using families hard. Image: Ed Yourdon via Flickr. Without bold action from legislators to fund transit, middle-class New York families will have to spend $2,300 more per year to get around the city even as the quality of the service they’re paying for declines, according […]
In his "State of the City" speech on Monday, Mayor de Blasio said he'd soon release a plan to address growing congestion in the city. Photo: NYC Mayor's Office

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Mayor de Blasio's forthcoming congestion plan won't call for traffic pricing, but the mayor has plenty of other options to reduce traffic congestion. Here are four policies that would provide much-needed congestion relief on NYC streets -- it's difficult to imagine any City Hall traffic reduction initiative that doesn't include some of these ideas.

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With less than four weeks remaining for the city to meet the $354 million federal deadline, lawmakers are positioning themselves on one side of the other of the congestion pricing debate, as state and city prime movers quietly ready for "negotiations." According to the Sun, Governor Eliot Spitzer’s office is drafting a congestion pricing bill, […]