Monday vote on Bloomberg’s traffic plan

Senate will vote Monday on congestion pricing bill

News Times Union July 13, 2007
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The Senate will vote in Albany Monday on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s congestion pricing bill, as Assembly Democrats, in New York City, debate but don’t vote on the plan.

The plan would charge cars $8 and trucks $21 to enter Manhattan below 86th Street between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. The fee aims to decrease traffic and air pollution in midtown Manhattan by encouraging commuters to take buses or subways.

The U.S. Department of Transportation plans to award grants to five of nine cities vying for federal anti-congestion funds. The deadline for applications is also Monday, meaning that New York will probably forego approximately $500 million in federal seed money, according to Albany’s Times Union (timesunion.com).

However, some have privately suggested Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, could bring back his members to vote on congestion pricing later in the week.

Regardless of the Senate’s vote, no action will be taken without the Assembly, some of who are wary of the plan. Assembly Democratic steering committee head Jack McEneny, D-Albany, is one such critic, citing incomplete planning as a roadblock. “A lot of people like the concept but the devil is entirely in the details,” he said. McEneny said lawmakers have unanswered questions about the level of control the mayor would have over congestion pricing, and about how the money resulting from the fee would be spent.

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