Sadik-Khan Set to Testify at City Hall

Streetsblog’s Ben Fried reports live from this morning’s City Council congestion pricing hearing: 

DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is set to deliver testimony to the City Council Committee on State and Federal Legislation. Streetsblog got a copy of her prepared remarks, which include a few new pieces of information:

  • "The City is developing a way to obtain an EZPass via cash payment, so that option will not be limited to those with credit cards or bank accounts." Also, "the City is working on ways to ease the financial burden on low-income drivers."
  • The plan on the table requires only 25 cameras, compared to 300 that would have been necessary under the mayor’s plan.
  • "We agree that more revenue from Port Authority tolls should be devoted to mass transit in the city." But even without altering the current proposal, "two-thirds of Holland and Lincoln Tunnel drivers will pay some or all of the congestion pricing fee. Revenue from these drivers will amount to $45 million a year, or 10% of total gross congestion pricing revenues."

The commissioner’s remarks go on to address the Port Authority issue more fully:

There are still some questions to resolve on the issue of a greater Port Authority contribution to transit in New York. There is a legal issue with charging different prices to different groups of people, there is a political issue, because the Port Authority is a bi-state agency, and there is the policy question — can the Port Authority again support the MTA capital program? It participated in the first MTA rebuilding program, from 1982-1986.

  • Hometown Heroes

    Go JSK!

  • Hilary

    I will be testifying in support, but would still like to know: what %-age of traffic entering Manhattan is contributed by those crossing via the GWB and Holland Tunnels? I assume it’s much greater than 10%.

  • Hilary

    The answer to my question just arrived in my email in-box in the first article in Spotlight on the Region from Regional Plan:
    “The simple fact is that for the last generation the suburban sector feeding the Manhattan Central Business District that has grown the fastest is by far from the west – northern New Jersey and Rockland and Orange counties in New York.
    Between 1980 and 2000 eighty-nine of every one hundred new commuting trips from the suburbs have come from these areas…”

  • Josh

    JSK is right that you raise a Constitutional issue if you try to charge different prices to different groups of people.

  • Hilary

    Re the constitutional issue, I would think that if the CP fee is for entering the CBD — and is applied at the Manhattan exits of all tunnels and bridges – it is not the same as the tunnel tolls, which are for use of the tunnels.

    But I think there’s a larger problem with the PA tolls. What I learned yesterday is that they are set to optimize revenue because they are driven by their bondholders. They can not be set to reduce the number of vehicles entering Manhattan. This would seem to doom any hope of the city making progress toward a goal of reducing (or even freezing) vehicular traffic.

    If there are to be offsets to the PA tolls, all of those offsets should be dedicated to transit — not to the general fund for PA to invest in real estate, airports, etc.

    It also points to a danger of relying on CP and tolls to fund transit. We need to have diverse revenue sources, and above all A TARGET FOR THE NUMBER OF VEHICLES THAT WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE CITY and a coordinated system of incentives set to achieve it. I leave it to the game theorists to design it. Without that goal and a method for reaching it, the critics are right to say CP is about raising revenue, not reducing traffic.

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