Changing the Funding Premise for Congestion Pricing

In the run-up to the July 16 deadline for state officials to approve the mayor’s traffic plan and qualify for $500 million in federal funding, congestion pricing opponents are suggesting that the city try to get the federal money for something else.

The leading group opposing the plan, Keep New NYC Congestion Tax Free, is circulating a letter to legislative leaders saying, “Why can New York not get the $345.6 for the non-congestion pricing items?”

They note that the other cities competing for a share of this federal funding “do not include congestion pricing in their proposals.”

Here’s the memo:

To: The Honorable Joseph L. Bruno
The Honorable Sheldon Silver
The Honorable Malcolm A. Smith
The Honorable James Tedisco
From: Keep NYC Congestion Tax Free
Date: July 13, 2007
Re: Suggestion on How Not to Lose ALL of the Federal Aid
Following is the breakdown of the $537 sought under the federal DOT application.
$191.4 million would be used for related information technology initiatives.
$35.5 million would be used for related information technology initiatives.
$306.5 million goes for acquiring 300 buses and to pay for related infrastructure including the implementation of bus rapid transit and expanded express and local bus services.
$3.5 million goes for expanded ferry services.
This all provokes a simple question. Why can New York not get the $345.6 for the non-congestion pricing items?
There is nothing that prevents New York from receiving these funds. The other eight cities applying under the federal program do not include congestion pricing in their proposals.
We suggest this approach to address the congestion problem without incurring the risk of losing all of the federal money.
Please give consideration to this suggestion in the days ahead. Thank you.