Fidler's Pre-Emptive Strike Against Congestion Pricing

City Councilman Lew Fidler, a man who lives on the edge (of Brooklyn, that is), submitted a bill this week that calls on Mayor Bloomberg to oppose congestion pricing before he even gets a chance to propose it. So far, six other outer-borough Council members (Melinda Katz, Tony Avella, Sara Gonzalez, Miguel Martinez, Michael Nelson and David Weprin) have signed on.

The bill argues two sides of the same coin: that London’s congestion pricing scheme was so ineffective that only 2 percent fewer people entered the city as a result, but that a Manhattan model would be so effective that it would result in a $2.7 billion loss in economic output.

Anti-anti-congestion forces are fighting back: Streetsblog has some data showing that in Mr. Fidler’s district, only 25 percent of commuters to Manhattan drive and the rest use mass transit. That factoid, however, does not deter the bill’s sponsor.

“It’s economically unjust. Only those who can afford it will pay and those who can’t, can’t,” said Mr. Fidler, who added that there is not a single subway stop in his district, which includes Canarsie and Marine Park. “I believe in subsidizing mass transit. I also believe that it is not the only transportation that New Yorkers use, and it cannot be.”

He has a more radical solution, at least to the issue of clean air.

“I would have the federal government ban the manufacturing and importation of combustion engines in 10 years or 12 years or something like that,” Mr. Fidler said, “and see how quickly they adapt the technology to cleaner air and alternate sources of energy.”

Matthew Schuerman

Fidler's Pre-Emptive Strike  Against Congestion Pricing