"Congestion Pricing Is Dead" - Hang on there. Not quite. In fact, not at all.
Thanks to Aaron Naparstek and Streetsblog for the excellent coverage of these issues and the following item. You can check out both this and the very heated commentary that has come in thus far on their site at http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/04/07/its-apparently-official-congestion-pricing-is-dead/#more-3677
And on the part of the New Mobility Agenda we wish to congratulate Mayor Bloomberg and all those who got behind this project for what is, after all if you sit back and think about it, a major achievement. The concept of congestion pricing and the full panoply of measures that must inevitably go with it -- parking rationalization, public transport improvements, non-motorized transport, better uses of public spaces, et al – are now right up on top of the political agenda in NYC and indeed in many other US cities who have been looking on and learning. In this high profile way surely for the first time.
Now ,the challenge is for all those involved to hang in there and get the job done. And this is, we promise, going to happen. Time to get to work on it New York!
Following an evening closed-door meeting in which state leaders discussed congestion pricing one last time today, legislators emerged announcing no deal had been reached. Here is a statement from Mayor Bloomberg:
"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."