Chicago Loses NYC’s Congestion Pricing Money

chicago_buses.jpgWill Chicago get a second chance at federal funds for better bus service? Photo: celikins/Flickr

Looks like New York legislators aren’t the only ones willing to pass up big money for transportation improvements if it means putting a fair price on private auto use.

Back in April, the feds withdrew a $354 million grant to New York City because Albany failed to pass congestion pricing. Chicago would have received $153 million of that for BRT pilot routes, but as Crain’s reports, the city failed to hold up its end of the bargain:

The administration this week quietly pulled back a pending ordinance
that would have hiked fees and taxes for off-street parking in garages
and on surface lots downtown by as much as $8 a day. The measure was
supposed to be the stick for a big carrot: a $153-million federal grant
announced last spring to begin a pilot express transportation system
known as bus rapid transit.

But the measure, which arrived in the wake of large hikes in
parking-meter fees, drew strong opposition from business groups. And
even if the mayor had put down the opposition, the ordinance was not
approved by the Dec. 31 deadline mandated by the U.S. Department of
Transportation.

With only a few days left in the Bush era, U.S. DOT Secretary Mary Peters, who initiated the Urban Partnership Agreement to spur initiatives like this, has indicated that she won’t cut Chicago any slack. Which means this story could turn into an early test for incoming secretary Ray LaHood. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley still hopes to get the new parking policy through City Council, and if LaHood continues the urban partnership program, the city may not lose the federal funding after all.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Chicago Gets NYC’s Congestion Pricing Money

|
The New York State Assembly is doing a great job… for the people of Chicago. Remember the $354.5 million federal grant that New York City was going to get to implement congestion pricing before the deal collapsed in Albany? US DOT Secretary Mary Peters announced today that Chicago will receive $153 million of New York […]

Feds to NYC: “Get on the Bus”

|
Looking closely at the conditions attached to the $354.5 million federal grant New York City received today, a few things jump out right away: The final Implementation Plan cooked up by the 17-member committee isn’t just going to be a "traffic migitation" plan. To qualify for this funding, New York City is going to have […]

Chris Christie Expected to Kill ARC Transit Tunnel

|
The largest federal transit investment in American history is on its deathbed, reports Andrea Bernstein at Transportation Nation. Three sources have told Bernstein that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is ready to pull the plug on the plan to double rail capacity under the Hudson River this week, though Christie denies his mind is made […]

Glick’s Excuse: Everything But the Kitchen Sink

|
Welcome to Glickville As Deborah Glick herself would tell you, no state legislator had more reason to support congestion pricing than she did. In a district where 95.4 percent of working residents would not have paid the charge, where households with a car are outnumbered by households sans vehicle three to one, and which nonetheless […]

Weiner Imagines Paying for His Traffic Plan With a Gas Tax Raise

|
  Though reporters weren’t invited, Streetsblog managed to get a stringer into this morning’s On-and-Off-the-Record transportation policy talk with Congressman Anthony Weiner at Commerce Bank in Midtown. During the hour-long Q&A hosted by Edward Isaac-Dovere of City Hall News, Weiner hit on familiar themes: Something needs to be done about traffic but the mayor’s plan […]