Governor says yes to congestion pricing

Paterson will support traffic plan for New York City
March 21, 2008 12:35:26 PM PDT
New York Governor David Paterson now says he will support a congestion pricing plan for New York City. The news came the same day Mayor Michael Bloomberg told lawmakers it is "now or never" to back his congestion pricing plan.

The controversial plan would charge drivers eight dollars to enter Manhattan below 60th Street between 6:00 a.m. And 6:00 p.m.

The city council will hold a hearing on Monday. If the plan does not pass by the end of the month, the city could lose millions of dollars in federal funding.

"Congestion Pricing addresses two urgent concerns of the residents of New York City and its suburbs," Governor Paterson said in a statement released just after 3:00 p.m. Friday. "The need to reduce congestion on our streets and roads, and thereby reduce pollution and global warming; and the need to raise significant revenue for mass transit improvements."

Soon after, a statement came from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office. In it, the mayor says, "Today, Governor Paterson has demonstrated true leadership by submitting a congestion pricing bill to the Legislature that will meet all of the objectives we've set -- cutting traffic and reducing pollution to improve our economy and public health, and raising revenue to fund much needed projects included in the MTA Capital Plan. The bill is a giant step forward, and its timely passage will ensure that New York gets $354 million in federal money that we've been promised. Together, I'm certain we can pass a bill that will improve the lives of New Yorkers."

Highlights of the bill:

  • The Congestion Pricing zone would include any roadways in Manhattan south of and inclusive of 60th Street between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for certain public holidays.
  • Establish the fee as recommended by the Commission, including a surcharge on taxis and livery vehicles.
  • Eliminate the Manhattan long-term parking tax discount for vehicles parked within the zone.
  • Set out privacy protocols based on existing EZ Pass privacy controls.
  • Provide exemptions for authorized emergency vehicles; safety, traffic and parking control, and inspection vehicles; sanitation vehicles; school vehicles; and privately operated over-the-road buses.
  • Prescribe a residential parking permit program.
  • Lay out the environmental review process for Congestion Pricing which follows the Commission's recommendation.
  • The City will oversee a monitoring program for traffic, air quality, noise, parking and other environmental impacts and release annual reports; a preliminary report will be available to the public within six months of the operation date.
  • The funds raised by the fee will be used, after deducting for the cost of operations, to support the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) capital plan, which was released at the end of February.
  • Priority for funding will be for areas in need underserved by transit.
  • Capital expenditures will be subject to approval by the MTA's capital program review board, and a representative of the New York City Council Speaker will have the same rights and privileges of the board members appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Senate Minority Leader and the Assembly Minority Leader.
  • For capital expenses derived from Congestion Pricing, the MTA will follow all legally applicable prevailing wage laws.
  • Any increase in parking fees by the City, as recommended by the Commission, will go into a "transit enhancement fund" to be used exclusively for additional transit, pedestrian, bicycle and parking management improvements, including ferries.

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