Commission Approves Pricing. Next Stop: City Council

After five months of work and something like 14 public hearings, the Congestion Mitigation Commission has finally made its recommendation. Here’s how the voting went down at this afternoon’s meeting:

13 yes votes.
2 no votes: Richard Brodsky and Denny Farrell
1 abstention: Richard Bivone
1 absent: Vivan Cook

Next stop on the timeline, March 28:

The City Council must vote to
approve the "Implementation Plan," send a home rule message to the
state legislature. A home rule message is a request from a city or town
council to the state legislature asking them to vote on legislation
affecting only that town or city.

Now that the policy making is done, let the politics begin.

  • Comentz

    Time to call or write to your City Council members. Let’s not let go of the pressure.

  • Jonathan

    Is the fact that all three of Shelly Silver’s appointees (Brodsky, Farrell, Cook) chose not to vote “yes” significant in any way, or is he just choosing to offer token opposition in order to keep his options open when the home-rule bill gets to the Assembly?

  • Lew from Brooklyn

    Aaron, it was nice meeting you today, though I had hoped we would get more of a chance to chat.

    But as to your post, “let the politics begin”. You are kidding right?

    They began a year ago.

    Lew from Brooklyn

  • Indeed, Lew, it’s all politics in the end, but I think the politics of the next few months is going to make the politics of the last year look like student council.

  • Heff

    I don’t know about your student council but my student council was rough.

  • Few people realize that even with an $8 fee paid one-way, drivers and their passengers (averaging 1.4 per car) would pay $2.85 per person per round trip. That’s 63 cents less than the average $3.48 two way subway fare going to effect in March. It would take a $10 auto fee just to make motorists and straphangers even. In fact, the MTA Board has approved a $10 toll for cash payments. Now they just have to remove the unnecessary E-ZPass discounts. Otherwise, the $2dispaity between MTA crossings and $8 charges the end of the East River bridges will continue to divert many drivers onto lower cost bridges, continuing to clog local roads in Brooklyn and Queens.

  • Jonathan

    Carolyn, are you confusing e-zpass and cash payments? The Brooklyn-Manhattan commuter with E-ZPass today pays $0 to commute via Brooklyn Bridge and $8 to commute via BBT. Without E-ZPass that’s $0 via BB and $9 via BBT.

    Starting next month, the rates will rise for E-ZPass drivers to $0 via BB and $8.30 via BBT. For drivers w/o E-ZPass that will be $0 via BB and $10 via BBT.

    Under the proposed CP program, the rates for drivers with E-ZPass will be $8 via BB and $8.30 via BBT. For drivers without E-ZPass, that will be $9 via BB and $19 via BBT (because the toll offset is only granted for E-ZPass users).

    I don’t see a $2 disparity there. I see a $0.30 disparity, and thirty cents extra is IMO worth it to take the BBT and avoid the Gowanus merge.

  • Felix

    Carolyn’s comments lead me to a question I’ve wanted to ask of Lew and other public opponents: Are you opposed to the amount of this proposed congestion charge or are you against the idea of any charge at all?

    It seems to me that the first four dollars of the congestion charge shouldn’t be an issue – that’s what subway riders are already paying. The only imaginable type of “unfairness” argument one could raise is that an $8 fee would make city drivers pay more than city transit users. And, of course, that argument only works for single drivers. I certainly can’t take my family to Manhattan for $8.

  • Josh

    If you’d like to take #1’s advice and contact your City Council representative to make your feelings known, here’s a page where you can find out how:

    I should note that Councilman Fidler’s page on this site lists “Futurama” among the places he represents. I’m assuming that’s a joke, and I think he deserves credit for sneaking it in there. 🙂

  • Josh

    By the way, let’s say I am planning on writing or otherwise contacting my City Council representative, and I’d like to be properly informed before I do so. Is there anyplace where I would find specific information about car ownership rates, numbers of people in the district who commute by car vs. other modes, potential health impacts caused by congestion, etc.?

  • Jeffrey Hyman

    Josh, one tool is the Census Factfinder ( Enter a geographic area and when the area-specific data opens, scroll down to “Economic Characteristics.” Click on “show more” and it will give you statistics on commutation. There may also be some good exisiting conditions data in the supporting material for the Downtown Brooklyn Transportation Blueprint, which I believe is on the Web somewhere.

  • barcar

    felix – not totally an even comparison. motorists pay for their car and its upkeep – subway riders do not.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (Not totally an even comparison. motorists pay for their car and its upkeep – subway riders do not.)

    Perhaps not, but close. In my view the subway fare should be set to cover the cost of buying, maintaining, and operating the subway cars.

    Taxes should pay for the infrastructure and stations just as it does for the streets and public buildings. Drivers should contribute as “rent” since transit riders give up their share of the street to them.

  • Josh

    Jeffrey, that’s a great start, thanks! It certainly shows that in my area of Brooklyn, car commuters are the vast minority. Going further, though, I’d love to find a stat that shows that car OWNERS are also in the minority. Also, one thing that’s been cited by Bloomberg and others is the high incidence of childhood asthma in the city; what is that sourced to?

  • While I disgree with Lew about much of his approach to this issue, I think his plan has some merits (especially support for the Cross-Harbor Freight Tunnel).

    It beats the crass disingenuousness I’ve heard from Weprin, Brodsky, Weiner etc.

    But Lew, this plan is a winner. I urge you to get behind it.

    Many people here will gladly support some of your Carat Stone initiatives in addition to this plan. But we need you to get on board this train.

  • mork


    “The fact sheets contain, for each county or legislative district, a breakdown of commuting patterns by mode and destination, vehicle ownership statistics, and the average incomes of vehicle-owning households and non-vehicle-owning households.”

  • Felix


    Car owners can drive their cars to work or leave them home and take the train. Either way, they’re utilizing a public good. When transit users pay to do so, Fidler and his allies don’t seem to mind. But when someone suggests that drivers pay for their trips, they seem offended by the very idea that people would have to pay to get into Manhattan. As a longtime subway rider, I don’t see the big deal in charging people to commute into Manhattan, particularly when we consider the damage drivers do to the city and its residents.

  • Josh

    That’s excellent, Mork. Thank you.

    Others who are considering contacting their representatives in the government and would like information regarding asthma issue will find at least some here:


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