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Council Approves Congestion Pricing
March 31st, 2008

In a clear victory for the Bloomberg administration’s congestion pricing plan, the City Council approved a home rule message clearing the way for the measure to be officially taken up in Albany.

The council approved it by a vote of 30 to 20. Councilmember Helen Foster was absent.

For nearly two hours, dozens of council members echoed arguments that have reverberated throughout the chamber for months. Some voiced support for mass transportation improvements, while others raised serious concerns that any capital projects by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority were empty promises (Recall, the second avenue subway, some members quipped).

For the first time, some members also criticized how the policy made it to the floor of the council — that is without a compromise in Albany first. Several council members said they had been promised by Mayor Michael Bloomberg that they would not have to vote on a proposal unless an agreement was arranged in Albany. That, many said, did not happen.

“If the mayor is going to say something, he should do it,” said Councilmember Diana Reyna, who voted against the measure. “This is half a bill.”

Other members questioned whether Albany could continue to amend legislation that was introduced last week, meaning the council would not be voting on the final version. Councilmember Lewis Fidler, a staunch opponent of the plan, said the body was completely ceding its authority to the State Legislature.

For those that support congestion pricing, today’s council vote could provide significant momentum behind the plan, which — by some accounts — must be approved by April 7. Many at today’s council meeting, which was called quickly this afternoon without notice, hoped congestion pricing would create a better mass transit system and reduce toxic fumes from cars, which contribute to the city’s astronomical asthma rates.

The latest version of the plan, which has been amended since Gov. David Paterson drew up a proposal earlier this month, would charge drivers $8 to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street.

The plan must now be approved by both the Senate and the Assembly. The Senate has expressed greater support for the bill than the Assembly, where Speaker Sheldon Silver is lukewarm, at best, on the idea.

Here is the full vote:

Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. – No
Maria del Carmen Arroyo – Yes
Tony Avella – No
Maria Baez – Yes
Charles Barron – No
Gale A. Brewer – Yes
Leroy G. Comrie, Jr. – No
Bill de Blasio – No
Inez E. Dickens – Yes
Erik Martin Dilan – No
Mathieu Eugene – No
Simcha Felder – Yes
Lewis A. Fidler – No
Helen D. Foster – Absent
Dennis P. Gallagher – No
Daniel R. Garodnick – Yes
James F. Gennaro – No
Vincent J. Gentile – No
Alan J. Gerson – Yes
Eric N. Gioia – Yes
Sara M. Gonzalez – Yes
Vincent Ignizio – No
Robert Jackson – Yes
Letitia James – Yes
Melinda R. Katz – No
G. Oliver Koppell – Yes
Jessica S. Lappin – Yes
John C. Liu – Yes
Melissa Mark-Viverito – Yes
Miguel Martinez – Yes
Michael E. McMahon – Yes
Darlene Mealy -No
Rosie Mendez – Yes
Hiram Monserrate – Yes
Michael C. Nelson – No
James S. Oddo – No
Annabel Palma – Yes
Christine C. Quinn -Yes
Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. – Yes
Diana Reyna – No
Joel Rivera – Yes
James Sanders, Jr. – Yes
Larry B. Seabrook – Yes
Helen Sears – No
Kendall Stewart – Yes
James Vacca – Yes
Peter F. Vallone, Jr. – No
Albert Vann – Yes
David I. Weprin – No
Thomas White, Jr. – Yes
David Yassky – Yes

By on March 31, 2008, 8:10 pm
In category: Albany,Environment,Gotham City,Health,Transportation | 5 Comments »

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5 Responses to “Council Approves Congestion Pricing”

  1. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » Congestion Pricing Recap Says:
    April 1st, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    [...] Press NYC Blogs  » Gotham City Recent Posts Congestion Pricing Recap Council Approves Congestion Pricing Video Differs From Police Account Baseball’s [...]

  2. Corey Says:
    April 1st, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    It remains important to note the tax people pay each time is $9.00 — unless they have the wherewithal to maintain an E-ZPass account.

  3. Stuart H. Tresser Says:
    April 1st, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    New Yorkers are screwed by Congestion pricing bigtime. It seems we no longer have the 14th ammendment and rights as U.S. Citizens. It truly is a dismal day for New York. I would like to see a class action lawsuit and take the politicians to court over this violation of the American with disabilities act, and omission of the 14th amendment “equal protection under he law”. Middle class have been assaulted with an assault weapon. I would remember the people who voted YES in New York City Council on election day when they seek higher office.

  4. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » A New Congestion Bill Says:
    April 2nd, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    [...] proposal and aspects of the State Senate bill introduced last week, does not mirror what the City Council approved on Monday. This new proposal seems to point to some council members’ fear that they were [...]

  5. MilesToGo Says:
    April 5th, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    The congestion pricing bill alone is a problematic way of addressing the abundance of traffic clogging the city’s streets.

    1/ Cost to those who must drive is outrageous.

    2/ No clear plan for PARKING outside central city streets–remember when urban renewal was really urban removal? Where will all the “out of sight” cars go?

    3/ Where will all the cars park until the mythical NEW public transport is established?
    In Manh. NORTH of 60th Street–where streets are already also “clogged” and residents must engage in the UWS car-moving dance 4 times a week–with tax payers vying with dozens of contractors’ vans every day for a legal space? In the South Bronx? On streets around the 7 train in Queens? In Clinton Hill? EH?

    4/ The “bill” is prermised on a “promise” of X billion for public transportation from the feds–but WHEN? Under which administration? For WHAT KIND of public transportation? From WHICH POINT to which point? etc. etc. etc.
    Heard this before? I have!

    5/ When was the last time NYC engaged in good solid rational urban planning to solve a problem? Can’t think when? Neither can I.

    6/ We live in a political culture where a “problem” in need of “remediation of some kind” is defined by the amount of money purportedly available to address the supposed remediation–all without thinking through any of the hows OR the ramifications/consequences of the intervention.

    Watch this space for more commentary on yet another bout of ass backwards planning by pols, developers and those industries most likely to benefit financially from all the latest bout of un-enlightened “urban planning.”

    MilesToGo

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