Congestion Pricing Breaks Out of Albany Gridlock
The details are still coming in but it looks like Governor Spitzer and members of the state Assembly and Senate have come to an agreement on Mayor Bloomberg's Congestion Pricing plan.
“This agreement to move forward with congestion pricing marks a critical milestone in our efforts to make PlaNYC a reality, and to provide a better quality of life for us and for future generations of New Yorkers," said Mayor Bloomberg in a statement released this afternoon. "By moving forward in our effort to clean our air and fight congestion, we will help our economy, improve public health and make critical improvements to our public transportation system."
But, as always, the devil will be in the details. As everyone knows, bills often come out unrecognizable after being through a legislative process that is often compared to sausage-making. Commissions are also notorious for coming to an end result that varies wildly from the thing that the commission started with in the first place.
"This agreement also creates a commission made up of representatives of our Administration, our partners in the City Council, Senate, and Assembly and from the Governor’s office to review our plans for implementation," Bloomberg said. "I am certain that through our work with the commission, our traffic plan will be implemented expeditiously."
It's also not clear whether New York will still qualify for $500 million in federal transportation aid that was tied to a Monday deadline.
The rest of the mayor's statement follows:
"This agreement makes clear that delay was unacceptable and the need to protect our environment and fight congestion simply could not wait. We will begin immediately to prepare for the installation of needed equipment to make our traffic plan a reality. "
“This agreement is a victory for the broad coalition of environmental and environmental justice groups, transit and public health advocates, organized labor and civic leaders who worked tirelessly for years to make real and important progress for our environment and our mass transit system. I also want to congratulate the leaders of both houses of the Legislature and the Governor for their support for this key element of PlaNYC and their commitment to moving it forward. We will continue to work together to access the federal funds that are available. Certainly there will be discussion of the details of various components of our plan, but together we have made a commitment to a greener, healthier and more livable New York.”