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Congestion Pricing

The Brodsky Alternative, Take Two: $6.50 to Enter a Cab

4:43 PM EST on February 28, 2008

His license plate rationing scheme beloved by none, this afternoon Assemblyman Richard Brodsky offered his second congestion pricing alternative: raising the $2.50 taxi "drop charge" to $6.50, increasing fines for illegal parking and blocking the box, and further cutting the number of parking placards issued to government employees.

513676288_7655361182.jpgBrodsky says the taxi fare hike alone would reduce VMT by up to 1.9 percent, and along with its other measures the plan would lower VMT by between 4.4 and 5.6 percent. According to Brodsky, his plan clearly qualifies the city for $354 million in federal transit funds, while congestion pricing does not.

Brodsky estimates the taxi fare hike would raise $187 million for transit annually, and along with other "reforms" would bring in up to $372 million per year.

The other plans burden average citizens, especially those in the boroughs outside Manhattan, place an access fee on public streets for the first time in American history, let out-of-state and suburban commuters off the hook, and ignore the single biggest cause of Zone congestion. We shift the focus to the group that actually causes the problem, that is better able to afford the increase cost of travel, and avoid costly and bureaucratic systems of cameras and payment that weigh down the other plans. We do not change the environmental reviewlaws, do not raise taxes on Zone residents, do not place a fee on travel on the FDR and Westside Drives. Our plan is simpler, easier, fairer, and more effective.

The plan outline (pdf) also contains vague language about limiting taxis to north-south corridors below 86th Street and encouraging telecommuting.

Brodsky claims to have support from 30 lawmakers, including members of the state Assembly and the City Council (among them: Fidler, Weprin, Dinowitz, Hevesi and Lancman). Six appeared with Brodsky a press conference today. Aaron Naparstek attended and will have more details tomorrow.

As for initial public reaction, judging from comments on City Room Brodsky may have finally succeeded in rallying the public behind congestion pricing.

Photo: the dancing kids/Flickr 

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