Congestion Pricing Gets a $354 Million Boost

The U.S. Department of Transportation has agreed to give the city $354 million to implement a congestion pricing plan or some other traffic mitigation scheme that lowers traffic in Manhattan by six percent—the same reduction promised by Mayor Bloomberg's initial plan.

The funding clears one hurdle for Bloomberg's controversial congestion pricing plan because the compromise Albany lawmakers agreed upon last month required that the state or the city come up with $250 million to implement a traffic plan.

Bloomberg's proposal, however, still needs to be approved by a 17-member commission that consists of: 3 appointees from the mayor, 3 appointees from the Governor, 3 appointees from the City Council, 3 appointees from the state senate majority leader, 3 appointees from the state assembly speaker, and one each from the senate minority leader and the assembly minority leader.

The commission must approve a traffic mitigation plan, but necessarily the mayor's congestion pricing scheme. But any plan approved by the commission to achieve a 6 percent reduction in traffic.

A full summary of the legislation from the mayor's office in July follows:

SUMMARY OF CONGESTION PRICING LEGISLATION

NYC is authorized to present and implement a detailed congestion pricing plan to address traffic congestion within a zone of severe traffic congestion in Manhattan. Such plan shall include (a) the geographic area to be covered; (b) the proposed dollar amount of any congestion pricing fee; (c) the technology to be used to implement such pricing plan; and (d) the number and scope of exemptions granted from such fee requirements. The Mayor shall submit the traffic mitigation plan by August 1, 2007.

NYC may not impose or collect any fee for traveling into or within designated zone unless the implementation plan has been approved by the State Legislature by March 31, 2008 and signed into law by the Governor, pursuant to a request from the Mayor that the State Legislature consider such plan where such request has been approved by the City Council.

A NYC Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission shall undertake a review and study of the issues related to the implementation of the plan submitted by NYC. It may also review and study other plans to reduce traffic congestion and other related health and safety issues. The Commission shall have 17 members comprised of appointees by State and City officials.

The Commission shall conduct hearings, take testimony and review information and proposals regarding traffic congestion. It shall issue to the Governor, State Legislature, the Mayor and City Council recommendations with respect to the details of implementing the plan submitted by the Mayor and other such proposals. These recommendations shall constitute “the implementation plan”. The implementation plan must provide at least the same level of traffic mitigation, as measured by the 6.3% reduction in average vehicle miles traveled, as proposed in the traffic mitigation plan submitted to US DOT on June 22, 2007.

The Commission shall approve by a majority vote its implementation plan and submit such plan to the Governor, State Legislature, the Mayor and City Council by January 31, 2008. The State Legislature shall consider such implementation plan by March 31, 2008.

By October 1, 2007, the MTA shall submit comments on the Mayor’s plan as well as (a) a description of the additional capital needs required for implementation; (b) proposed utilization of any potential revenue derived from such plan for such capital needs; and (c) the impact of such revenue upon the authority’s capital and operating budgets.

By March 31, 2008 (an 18-month acceleration), the MTA shall submit a capital program for the period covering July 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008.


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