Fidler's Traffic Plan to City Council Tomorrow

After months of working on his traffic relief plan—an alternative to Michael Bloomberg’s congestion pricing—Lew Fidler will introduce it to

After months of working on his traffic relief plan—an alternative to Michael Bloomberg’s congestion pricing—Lew Fidler will introduce it to the City Council tomorrow.

Fidler is choosing tomorrow to introduce the plan because on Thursday, the commission looking at a number of traffic congestion relief plans is going to recommend one to the City Council. The Council, in turn, will vote on whether to support that plan. If they do choose one, legislators in Albany will then take up the issue.

The City Council would ultimately have to approve any traffic relief plan before the state legislature would even consider it. And approval from both are needed in order to tap into millions of dollars in federal funding, which is available for traffic plans that meet the same targets as Bloomberg’s.

Fidler’s political goal here is to demonstrate the support for his plan. When I spoke to him this morning he said, “Here they are debating floor plans that has maybe three committed votes." Of the 11 resolutions his plan includes Fidler says they have an average of 24 co-sponsors, although support for individual resolutions varies.

Fidler says his support is diverse. “I want to be very clear," he told me. "I have co-sponsors for elements of this plan that are ardently in favor of congestion pricing, ardently against it, and people who haven’t yet committed. But even if they’re in favor of congestion pricing, and they put their name next to one of my resolution points, they think that point is a good idea, and some of them [the resolutions] survive with or without congestion pricing.”

Fidler said it’s not likely his proposal will go to a vote before congestion pricing, since in addition to the mayor, the City Council Speaker supports congestion pricing. “What’s wrong is my plan isn’t part of the debate," Fidler says.

On Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan, Fidler said, “I think where it is today is losing.”

Fidler thinks he knows why it is losing, and to illustrate his point he relayed a story about a talk given by Marc Shaw, the head of the traffic commission. Fidler told me, “Marc Shaw came to the Democratic caucus of the City Council a week and a half ago and presented the options. And said—and this is a quote and he will not deny it because he said it in front of seventy people—that the [plans] being considered by the commission all fall disproportionately on the taxpayers of Brooklyn and Queens. I think where he was wrong is he left out the Bronx and Staten Island.” (I’ve put in a call to Shaw and am waiting to hear back).

Fidler’s plan includes calls for: constructing the Cross Harbor Tunnel, encourage the purchase of hydrogen fuel cell cars, levying a payroll tax of one third of one percent on the city, Rockland, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, increasing metered parking and taxi stands in midtown, restricting where trucks could load and unload goods, moving city agencies to the outer boroughs and connecting the train on Staten Island to rest of the subway system [added]. Fidler's Traffic Plan to City Council Tomorrow