Congestion Pricing Back in the News

Andy DarrellThis post is by Andy Darrell, Regional Director for the Living Cities program at Environmental Defense.

There are way too many cars in New York City – no question about that. Congestion pricing – charging a fee to cars entering the city – is a simple and effective solution.

But some people weren’t so sure about this when Mayor Bloomberg first proposed the plan. So last summer, a commission – on which I serve – was formed to study the issue and make recommendations.

Today, after six months of intensive research, public hearings and debate, we released a draft of our recommendations. And we want your feedback.

On Wednesday, January 16th, the commission will hold a public hearing on the draft recommendations at Hunter College, Kaye Theatre, East 68th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues at four o’clock. If you live in the New York area, I hope you will come – and please tell your friends. The commission is looking for input to shape its final recommendations, and the opponents of congestion pricing are sure to be out in force.

The commission’s report comes at a good time. Over the holidays, for the first time in print, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver expressed openness to congestion pricing. The Daily News reports him saying, "I’m more open now than I was in the past, yes, because I think we do have to do something about congestion."

Editorial boards have been with us every step of the way. See, for example, a recent editorial in the New York Post.

Visit our web site for additional reports and materials, including an analysis of past public hearings, and a critique of alternatives proposed by opponents.

Our Living Cities staffers have been meeting with City Council members and State legislators to build support. Our goal is a strong commission report at the end of January and the approval of a congestion pricing plan by the end of March.

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  1. Sebb
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Go for it!
    The idea that the AAA is spending their member’s money to fight you, and to produce plans that will actually make traffic worse in NYC is bizarre. (Join “A Better World” for breakdown service without funding AAA’s environmentally destructive lobbying – and no I am not associated with the company). Congestion charging has been a boon in London and can easily work in NYC. Cleaner air, faster travel, better public transport, less noise…..the future is there to be claimed.

  2. fred1
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    I think we need to become a communist state. that way no one would be able to afford cars and therefore we could all go back to horse drawn buggies and carriages….would that work? Although the smell might be a drawback.