Friday, January 11, 2008

Congestion Pricing Alternatives - Make Your Voice Heard!

Having read through the 10 page Executive Summary, I have an overwhelming favorite among the competing CP plans: tolling the Harlem and East River Bridges (among other things). Streetsblog has a good description of the key element of that plan:
Under that plan, a $4 toll would be imposed on all crossings into and out of Manhattan, 24 hours a day, with higher tolls for trucks. The plan would reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by 7 percent -- qualifying the city for $354 million in federal funds -- while raising an estimated $859 million annually for transit.
Unfortunately, Newsday says that the Commission is actually leaning towards a modified CP plan, which would raise far less money for transit and cost more in capital spending.

AM NY reports that the Commission will be voting on the plans on January 31, less than three weeks from now. We need to ensure that the best plan makes it to the voting floor: the plan that will raise the most money for transit, in the most cost-effective manner. Who's going to pay for the new trains we'll need for the F Express, after all?

Fortunately, there is a last minute forum coming up at Hunter College (h/t Michael Cairl):
Hunter College Auditorium
East 69th Street b/w Park & Lex
Wednesday January 16th

Convenient? Absolutely not. But we've got to make our voices heard on this. I'll give the final word to Commissioner Shaw, quoted by Streetsblog, from yesterday's hearing:
There are only two ways to reduce congestion. Less people come to work or you improve mass transit. We don't want less people to come to work and the only way to improve mass transit is with money and resources which we don't have. The City and State are, relatively speaking, going to be relatively broke as we put together the next MTA capital plan. This congestion pricing plan is one of the best hopes for this town to fund the next MTA capital plan.

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