Bloomberg on Congestion Pricing Failure: 'A Special Kind of Cowardice'
STATEMENT BY MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ON THE FAILURE OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE TO VOTE CONGESTION PRICING:
“Today is a sad day for New Yorkers and a sad day for New York City. Not only won’t we see the realization of a plan that would have cut traffic, spurred our economy, reduced pollution and improved public health, we will also lose out on nearly $500 million annually for mass transit improvements and $354 million in immediate federal funds.
“I will be speaking with Secretary Peters and will express my thanks for her commitment to innovative solutions to real problems facing large cities today. I will also express my deep disappointment that, sadly, even Washington, which most Americans agree is completely dysfunctional, is more willing to try new approaches to longstanding problems than our elected officials in the State Assembly. It takes true leadership and courage to embrace new concepts and ideas and to be willing to try something. Unfortunately, both are lacking in the Assembly today.
“If that wasn’t shameful enough, it takes a special type of cowardice for elected officials to refuse to stand up and vote their conscience– on an issue that has been debated, and amended significantly to resolve many outstanding issues, for more than a year. Every New Yorker has a right to know if the person they send to Albany was for or against better transit and cleaner air. People know where I stood, and where members of the City Council stood. They deserved at least that from Albany."
“The idea for congestion pricing didn’t start in our Administration and it won’t end today. The $354 million we would have received from Washington tomorrow will go to another city in another state. But the problems congestion pricing could have helped solve are only going to get worse. And too many people from more than 170 environmental, labor, public health and business organizations recognize the merits of congestion pricing and hopefully someday, we will have more leaders in the Legislature who recognize it too.
“We will continue to push forward on the other 126 proposals in PlaNYC that will reduce our carbon footprint and green our City. We will move forward on proposals to plant 1 million trees, introduce hybrid taxis and install green roofs on City buildings. Congestion pricing is just one part of our ambitious agenda.
“I want to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly for congestion pricing and I want to acknowledge the courage and leadership that our partners in the City Council, Speaker Quinn, Governor Paterson, former Governor Spitzer, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco and some in the Legislature have shown by working together to convince their colleagues to support congestion pricing. Together, we will continue to work to build a greener, greater New York City.”
Gov. David Paterson issued the following statement:
"Earlier today Congestion Pricing failed to achieve the consensus necessary to move forward on the state level. As I've said all along, this is an important program to reduce congestion and pollution in New York City while raising vitally needed funds for mass transit. Now we need to come up with innovative approaches to the challenge of funding mass transit. Over the next several days I will be working closely with my colleagues in the legislature and experts both in and outside of government to arrive at such solutions."