Congestion Panel Meets Amidst Q Poll Parsing

The third meeting of the 17-member Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission will be held at 2:00 this afternoon at the offices of Hughes Hubbard and Reed, 1 Battery Park Plaza (24 State St. @ Pearl St.), 10th Floor, in Manhattan.

Today’s event comes on the heels of a new Quinnipiac Poll, released yesterday, that shows support for congestion pricing slipping in Manhattan. The poll also found that New Yorkers support pricing by a healthy 53-41 margin if it "prevents a hike
in mass transit fares." Which, if Mayor Bloomberg has his druthers, it won’t. Instead, pricing proceeds would go toward much-needed transit capital improvements.

While this latest Q Poll stopped short of asking participants whether they thought the proposition of $354.5 million in transit aid amounted to federal "meddling," Michael O’Loughlin, Director of the Campaign for New York’s Future, had this to say:

"Today’s Quinnipiac Poll once again demonstrates that New Yorkers understand traffic congestion is a serious problem, and the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission must therefore put forward a serious plan to reduce congestion and tackle the related challenges of vehicular air pollution and an underfunded transit system. Secondly, today’s poll demonstrates, yet again, that New Yorkers support congestion pricing when the revenues are reinvested into the mass transit system.

"It is regrettable, however, that the Quinnipiac Poll once again fails to ask New Yorkers the most relevant question – would they support congestion pricing if the revenues were reinvested into the transit system to expand transit options and improve subway and bus service for the vast majority of New Yorkers who rely on public transit, as has in fact been proposed. Of course, New Yorkers want reasonable transit fares; we also want better bus service in all five boroughs, a full-length Second Avenue subway and other much-needed investments that congestion pricing could help fund."

Sadly, most media coverage of the poll is about as nuanced as the poll itself. The Daily News, however, does have an interesting quote from Bloomberg:

"You can toll the bridges or you can collect it elsewhere. The issue is
not that. That’s in the details," Bloomberg said yesterday. "The issue
is, ‘Are you going to charge people to drive into the central city
enough so that you would discourage them from doing so, and at the same
time generate extra monies to improve and expand mass transit?’"

This statement does more to crystallize what the city hopes to accomplish with congestion pricing than most anything we’ve heard from a public official as of late. Now, to repeat it ad infinitum… 

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