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Congestion Pricing

$1 Billion From Port Authority Not Enough for Shelly Silver

9:54 AM EDT on March 31, 2008

On Saturday night, the congestion pricing bill in the State Senate was amended to include exemptions for low-income drivers and cars with handicapped plates. As expected, the changes also stipulated a way to make New Jersey drivers pay "their fair share." In the amended bill, the Port Authority is required to contribute $1 billion to the MTA capital plan, or else drivers who use the Authority's Hudson River crossings will get a smaller pricing fee offset.

The Mayor's office released a statement yesterday expressing optimism that the changes would win over legislators who remain on the fence:

The amendments that the Senate introduced last night to their bill will address many of the remaining concerns that we've been hearing from the City Council and members of the State Legislature.

But the amendments apparently did not satisfy Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Appearing on New York 1 last night, Silver said drivers from outside the city were still getting off easy:

"I don't think it addresses the issues that are before us, like those people that cross the Hudson, either coming from New Jersey or Rockland," said State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "The statement is, you don't contribute to congestion. It's only Brooklyn and Queens and the Bronx we're asking to pay, not the others. That's one of the major issues here."

You read that right. It seems Silver either doesn't believe a billion dollars is a big enough contribution from drivers who cross the Hudson, or he wants them to pay up directly, instead of having the Port Authority pass on funds to the MTA.

Then there's this from today's Post:

The State Assembly will not even consider the controversial congestion-pricing plan until a new state budget is passed, Speaker Sheldon Silver privately told his members...

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