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… 

  • A new analysis shows majority of Traffic Mitigation Commission hearing witnesses suggested improvements to make congestion pricing work

    Check out news release at http://www.environmentaldefense.org/pressrelease.cfm?contentID=7351

    Sean Crowley
    Marketing-Communications Director
    Living Cities Program
    Environmental Defense

  • MrManhattan

    “Quinnipiac”?

    Isn’t that a safety school for kids who couldn’t get into Connecticut College?

  • Lew from Brooklyn

    Face the facts. The poll shows that NY’ers do NOT want congestion pricing. They see it as flawed and not able to meet its objectives.

    And the analysis of who spoke in favor and who was opposed it the hearings is RIDICULOUS. I was at two of the hearings where speakers were overwhelimingly opposed. I am sure that it went down the same way in Queens.

    It’s time to look at other ways to skin this cat.

    Regional payroll tax anyone? Subway connection for Staten Islanders perhaps?

    Lew from Brooklyn

    (On the hate email that’s gonna be coming my way…..LOL)

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    And the analysis of who spoke in favor and who was opposed it the hearings is RIDICULOUS. I was at two of the hearings where speakers were overwhelimingly opposed. I am sure that it went down the same way in Queens.

    It really didn’t. There were plenty of people opposed to the Mayor’s specific plan, but they did not object to the idea of congestion pricing in general. A few people did, and there weren’t too many surprises there: Rory Lancman, David Weprin, Walter Mccaffrey, Corey Bearak AND Jim Trask, and at least two members of Community Board 7.

    There were no elected officials who fully endorsed the plan, but there were plenty of Queens residents who spoke in favor. That includes at least three people who spoke in favor of the plan as private citizens, including myself.

    People really send you hate mail about this? That’s stupid of them.

  • Spud Spudly

    Sean Crowley’s press release is ridiculous. Read it. All it says is that 57 percent of the people who chose to go to a public hearing thought that CP could possibly be good in some form or another, though most didn’t like the Mayor’s specific plan. And this shows what exactly?

    Maybe that’s why I didn’t see the release get picked up anywhere.

  • Chris H

    Lew,

    good to see that you’re back. Can you please answer my question that I posted here.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Well Spud, correct me if I am wrong, and I often am, but what the Mayor proposed is no longer on the table. What the commission is tasked with is to create specific legislation that the City Council then the Assembly and everyone else, must endorse. What that is is yet unseen and unknown. I didn’t like elements of PlaNYC myself and probably would have opposed it had I ever been given a chance to vote on it. However, that is not what is going to be laid in front of the legislature and the City Council. I hear some specific objections that I thought had a lot of juice. Most important was that the Mayor’s plan did not dedicate the money to the MTA. That was one of my chief beefs with what the Mayor had proposed. Fix that, and although I have a couple other parochial objections, you will get my vote (if I had one). What your specific objections are to funding mass transit with savings from eliminating congestion for the moment elude me. But it is late on Thanksgiving an I have had a few glasses of wine. Maybe it will come to me.

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