Chicago to consider downtown congestion fee

Alderman calls for hearing to discuss feasibility

News Chicago Tribune June 15, 2007
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Chicago Alderman Edward Burke (14th Ward) introduced a resolution Wednesday calling for a City Council hearing on the possibility of charging a “congestion fee” to motorists who drive downtown, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

"Can it reduce pollution? Can it reduce traffic? Can it raise a revenue stream to help out the beleaguered CTA?" Burke asked. "It's certainly a very complicated issue and one that should not be rushed into. But I thought that as long as London is doing it, as long as New York is [proposing] it, perhaps it is an idea that Chicago ought to consider,” the paper reported Burke as saying.

While Mayor Richard Daley said he has an open mind about the concept of the congestion fee, he also expressed reservations, the paper said.

With their narrow streets and absence of alleys, London and New York are "completely different" from Chicago, Daley said, according to the Tribune.

"Are you going to put [the fee] on all the aldermen who drive every day?" Daley asked. "What about all the trucks coming downtown? What do you do with them?"

"Let's not rush to that and scare everybody off," the mayor declared, according to the paper. "We are trying to keep businesses here and ... move businesses into the city."

Burke hopes to gather such information as how much would be charged, how the tolls would be collected and how much money the concept would generate for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) from the testimony of experts at the hearing, the paper reported.

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