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Congestion Pricing

New Pricing Poll Hits the Spin Cycle

2:29 PM EDT on August 30, 2007

A Quinnipiac Poll released today shows that citywide support for congestion pricing remains consistent at 57 percent -- compared to 58 percent a month ago -- assuming fees can be used to prevent transit fare increases. Given those conditions, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens showed majority support for pricing, with Staten Island opposed (45% in favor to 50% against) and the Bronx nearly split (47% in favor to 49% against).

The poll also shows that Manhattanites continue to support pricing unconditionally (with no mention of benefits): 54 percent in favor to 36 percent opposed. Citywide, unconditional support dropped five percent -- 41 percent to 36 -- from July to August.

Not surprisingly, a full 89 percent of New Yorkers believe traffic congestion to be a serious problem. Also not surprisingly, the pro-congestion lobby is spinning a decent show of support for pricing -- markedly better than that of pre-pricing Stockholm and London -- into a public rebuke of the plan and a dire warning to politicians who will be voting on it.

Doesn't hurt that the Q pollsters served up this ready-made meme: 

The federal government has promised $354 million to New York City for transit improvements - but only if congestion pricing is adopted. Does this make you more likely to approve of congestion pricing or do you think this is federal meddling in a municipal decision.

Shockingly, 51 percent of New Yorkers, when asked, oppose meddling.

Here's more coverage from the Times, Daily News and Observer blogs. 

UPDATE: TA's response to the poll just went up. In addition to pointing out the "misleading" and "biased" language, TA makes this observation:

The fact that most Bronx elected officials, who have studied congestion pricing in detail, have come to support it while a majority of Bronx residents oppose it more likely points to an information gap than an opinion gap. Also, the fact that a majority of Staten Islanders oppose congestion pricing despite the fact that they will benefit from the program while virtually never paying its fees is also suspect. As Mr. White noted, "the absence of a question asking voters how well they feel informed about congestion pricing is a glaring omission. I have no doubt the Q-Poll's numbers will not hold up once information about congestion pricing is more effectively disseminated to average New Yorkers." T.A. also noted that the Q-Poll fails to refer to congestion pricing as a "three year trial program," which it is, and never asks voters who are seriously concerned with traffic if they would rather implement congestion pricing on a trial basis or do nothing at all to address traffic congestion.

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