Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rest In Peace, Congestion Pricing!

Rest in peace, congestion pricing! All indications are that Bloomberg's bold initiate are all but dead. With Monday's deadline looming for Assembly "green light", it seems this idea can't get out of park, and I hope it stays that way.

For one, the abrasiveness with which Bloomberg has sold this idea is an instant turn-off. The two main arguments were that we have a $500 Million Dollar gun to our heads, and if we don't act we lose the money and our kids get asthma. Both arguments are ludicrous. We don't get $500 Million, we get $8 taken out of our pockets every time we cross an arbitrary line. And, in regards to the Asthma argument, the issue is most acute in the poorer neighborhoods which are outside of the zone, where theoretically cars and trucks will likely be idling waiting to get into the zone. The Congestion Pricing Plan could, arguably, exacerbate the Asthma problem. Additionally, this is a tax, and a tax which disproportionately impacts the hardest working, lowest paid New Yorkers. Finally, the plan does little to address the biggest traffic and pollution problems that we have which is double parked and idling trucks. We already have laws in place to deal with that are not enforced. Just giving trucks 60' on each avenue block to load and unload, and strictly enforcing double parking and idling rules would reduce pollution and traffic by far more than this ill-fated plan.

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