Congestion Pricing Moves Forward to Albany

New York City Council has officially backed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan, which now moves forward to Albany for approval.

Just to recap, the plan would charge drivers an $8.00 fee for driving below 60th Street from 6am – 6pm. There are provisions in the plan which allow for credits when paying a toll to enter the city. So if you paid $6.00 to cross a bridge on the way into the city, for example, you would only owe an additional $2.00 that day.

However, if you were parked below 60th Street or otherwise already in the city and drove below 60th Street, you would be charged the full $8.00.

So what the hell does this have to do with the subway?

Well, the city stands to receive $354 million in federal funding to help launch the congestion pricing plan. This money would pay for the fee collection infrastructure, as well as fund initial mass transit improvements.

The goal with the congestion pricing plan is to encourage people to leave their cars at home more often, and rely on mass transit. Of course, this means that the transit system would need to increase service, and increase reliability. So much of the federal funding would go towards these initiatives…at least so they say.

So now the plan heads to Albany for state approval. The State Legislature is in the middle of finishing the budget, however the plan deadline is quickly approaching.

Congestion pricing needs to be approved by April 7th in order to obtain the federal funding.

Way back in July, State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno ironed out a deal with Spitzer to get the plan passed.  Let’s hope that still stands.

Spitzer Screws Hookers and Transit System

Just when you thought some serious decisions were finally going to be made in Albany about all things transportation in NYC, Spitzer had to get caught with his pants down.

Clearly, these developments throw some major wrenches in plans for things like congestion pricing and transit related budget issues. While the pols in Albany get their panties untwisted, we’ll just have to wait around.

Regardless of your opinion of Spitzer as a leader, at least some decisions were being made. Good or bad…at least once they were decided, we could all move on to the next thing.

That’s the most frustrating thing about politics…all the waiting and suspense.

For example, the fare hike. Personally, as a monthly card holder, I feel it was a little excessive. Needed perhaps, but a bit much. However, I’m just glad it is done! At least I know for the next year or two, the price will be the price. I can move on with my life.

Congestion pricing, well now what? If your for it or against it, wouldn’t you just rather have a final decision made so we could all move on.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that Patterson can get the momentum moving again.

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