Congestion Pricing Populist Soundbite Contest

Why do Richard Brodsky and Walter McCaffrey  get to have all of the populist soundbite fun?

Last Friday, in a story about the Committee to Keep NYC Congestion Tax Free stepping up its lobbying efforts, the Daily Politics blog published this gem of a rallying cry from pro-congestion lobbyist Walter McCaffrey:

"You are in the driver’s seat. Put the brakes on congestion
pricing now before it goes to Albany.

Which means, of course, it’s time to launch the Congestion Pricing Populist Soundbite Contest. Paul White at Transportation Alternatives gets us started with the following:

"Diiiiing Dooong. You are in the subway seat. Tell your state legislator not to hold the doors on congestion pricing."

Here’s mine: 

"You are walking across the street. Put the brakes on congestion pricing opponents before one of them runs you over in his Buick Skylark."

I’m sure you can do better…

  • You’re on a bus, stuck at a stop, while SUVs wiz by not giving the bus space to to pull out of the stop. Tell your legislators to stop taking a wiz on your bus and telling you it’s raining.

  • (set in 2030) You’re stuck in your car and broke. Gas is at $9/gallon and the MTA could never execute that capital plan to bring mass transit to your neighborhood. Tell your legislators that we need congestion pricing to build tomorrow’s infrastructure.

  • You are in an ambulance after being hit by a car, but the ambulance is stuck in traffic and cannot get you to the hospital quickly enough to save your life. Don’t you wish you had supported congestion pricing?

  • You may be in the drivers seat, but most of your constituents are not. Show them you care by supporting congestion pricing to improve the transit they depend on, or they might have to take away your parking privileges (and your job) in the next election.

  • Don’t Support More Money for Mass Transit! Gas prices are going to drop any day now.

  • me

    Congestion pricing is a total fraud so NYC can become more exclusively RICH. HEY you congestion pricing supporters – Do you really think that ANY money will be USED to actually improve TRANSIT than if they congestion pricing did not go through. I support congestion fighting – how about NO 50,000+ govt. parking permits. Let us really say what this is all about – keeping us rifraff from Brooklyn and Queens from coming in. I love it how on the weekends for the last 10 years there is always massive subway “maintenace related disruptions”. You want the middle class to leave the city? The rich people from Westchester, Connecticut, and NJ are not going to be paying the $8 to the MTA only us stupid saps from the outer boroughs. Make it fair, no private cars whatsoever in NYC for anybody during rush hour. Not just those who can afford it!

  • psw

    Your street is overrun with traffic and your kids have asthma. pass congestion pricing now to switch all those polluting driving trips to transit, walking and biking.

  • You deserve to consume all the world’s resources. Don’t worry about leaving a livable world to our children.

  • It is the year 2030. There is no congestion tax after all. City and state legislators realized there were no guarantees or fairness and put the controversial plan in permanent park. The air is clean, neighborhood streets are not filled with commuter parking, and hard-earned money is being used for working families and retirement savings…not bureaucratic dollar in/dollar out schemes. All is good.

  • wha?

    yo “KeepNYCFree” : with congestion pricing, the hard-earned money is more because families don’t have to own, operate, park, fuel and insure an automobile. they can take improved mass transit instead, like most new yorkers do already.

  • graham

    Get on the bus.

  • graham

    Or, in a longer format:
    Tell Albany to get on the bus.

  • mork

    Or longer yet:

    Hop on the bus, Gus.
    Make a new plan, Jan(ette).
    No need to be coy, Roy,
    Just set yourself free
    (And lose the car.)

  • It’s your happiness and health. Don’t let out-of-towners drive away with it.

  • right wing wacko

    how about “I’m a loser who never got a drivers license and somehow feel entitled to more of the middle classes money to improve my piss smelling trains and busses”

  • Tim

    Mr. Right Wing Wacko–

    you sum up the core of the opposition’s sentiment quite nicely. some people just don’t like to be around other people and would rather stay ensconced in their cars. my advice to you is to move to Montana.

  • The problem is that we’re using the wrong language. “congestion pricing” is like “death tax”. It sounds like something you don’t want. We should be using something that connotes freedom and joy. No lines,no waiting. Open for business. How about “Freedom Fee”? Or “Free Ride”? Everybody wants a free ride and everyone likes freedom and doesn’t mind paying a tiny fee for it.

  • urban taxpayer

    I have always thought “pollution pricing” would be a better sell. It makes clear that driving into the city has a negative environmental impact, even if you pay for it. it also dispels the idea that increasing speed is the goal – like the old Harlem and Vanderbilt Speedways, which were recreational amenities for the rich. You want every driver who passes through the cordon to experience a twinge of guilt, not smug satisfaction at having paid for a luxury good, and to consider the possible alternatives.

  • Maybe so. “Congestion” emphasizes the business case for pricing, which most people don’t care about or even follow, but air and noise pollution are very tangible to New Yorkers. I still worry that it opens the door to exemptions for vehicles that emit less local pollution (while imposing the other negative effects of automobiles) and decreases potential mass transit funding. But, what the heck, any road pricing system is better than none at all. We should be simultaneously pursuing the capital-agnostic plan B of carving out physically separated lanes (and streets) for busses, bikes, and emergency vehicles. And giving more space, safety, and priority to pedestrians everywhere. There is no sense in losing the populist battle for policies that are so broadly favorable to the populace.

    Politicians! Pry your hands from the steering wheel long enough to clear the air and fund transit with a price on pollution. Experience New York like the rest of us, or we’ll find someone who does.

  • hamish wilson

    how bout
    Turn the freeways into feeways – end carrupt politricks!

  • gecko

    Smoking transport kills children, people, and other living things.

  • Congestion pricing: just another politically naive plan to reduce driving and improve public transportation.


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