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Albany Reform

Daily News to Congestion Pricing Opponents: “Your Fault”

4:18 PM EDT on May 14, 2008

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With higher gas prices pushing drivers onto the city's trains and buses, the Daily News today blasted Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Dems for passing up the billions of dollars that congestion pricing would have brought to MTA coffers. 

The trends prove that the theory of congestion pricing was valid: When the cost of driving rises, people actually do switch to mass transit.

Had Silver and the Assembly passed congestion pricing, as the City Council did, the MTA would already be using that $354 million in federal aid (which has now been disbursed about the country) to make more bus and subway seats available.

Then, the congestion fee would have given the MTA a half-billion dollars a year to pay for big projects like completing the Second Ave. subway and extending LIRR service to Grand Central Terminal. When that money vanished, the MTA's building plan was eviscerated.

The agency does not have the money it needs to keep the transit system in good repair, let alone to expand. Gov. Paterson has asked the estimable Richard Ravitch, a former MTA chairman, to hunt up cash.

He'll find no easy fixes. Option 1: Raise taxes. Option 2: Raise fares. Option 3: Congestion pricing.

Pricing foes must be waiting for Ravitch to make the next move, because we've heard virtually nothing from them since the plan was smothered behind closed doors over a month ago -- other than demands for improved transit service.

But what of Brodsky, Glick, and Weiner? Or Bearak and McCaffrey? Where are they now that their storied working class drivers, priced out of their cars, must rely on a beleaguered transit system that doesn't have the fiscal boost promised by congestion pricing?

Oh, right. They're stuck in traffic.

Graphic: New York Daily News 

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