Pay to Drive Midtown? Partnership Pushes Congestion Charges.

The New York City Partnership’s report on congestion pricing that was supposed to come out a year ago was finally released this morning — this time retooled as a study of how much traffic was costing the economy.

“Talking about congestion pricing is like giving someone a needle before they know they have a disease,” Partnership president and chief executive Kathy Wylde said at a press briefing on Monday morning. Her study puts the cost of the disease to the regional economy at more than $13 billion annually in wasted fuel, travel time and missed opportunities, and between 37,000 to 52,000 jobs.

Officially, the Partnership is endorsing “further study” of a whole bunch of remedies, congestion pricing being just one of them (along with better mass transit, higher parking fees, etc.). But Wylde sounded pretty convinced that charging vehicles to drive in Midtown and Lower Manhattan would have to be in the mix. “You have to have a combined package, and there is no evidence that you can pull one piece of it out and make it work,” she said.

- Matthew Schuerman