David Paterson just officially announced his support for congestion pricing, citing the need to reduce traffic in order to reduce pollution and the need to raise large amounts of revenue for improvements to mass transit.
Here’s the release:
Governor David A. Paterson announced today that he has submitted a Governor’s program bill, that follows the recommendations of the New York City Traffic Mitigation Commission report of January 31, 2008 to allow for the City Council and State Legislature to consider a bill that meets the requirements of the United States Department of Transportation Urban Partnership Agreement, which contributes $354 million in federal funds.
“Congestion Pricing addresses two urgent concerns of the residents of New York City and its suburbs: the need to reduce congestion on our streets and roads, and thereby reduce pollution and global warming; and the need to raise significant revenue for mass transit improvements,” Governor Paterson said. “We expect that revenue from the Congestion Pricing plan will support more than $4.5 billion in needed capital improvements for mass transit and meaningfully reduce traffic into the Central Business District of Manhattan. Before the constructive process of deliberation proceeds in both the City Council and the State Legislature, transparency requires that the public fully see what the system envisioned by the Commission will entail. While Commission Report highlighted other issues which need to be resolved, introducing this bill allows the City Council and Legislature to examine the details of the proposal and make an informed judgment on the Congestion Pricing program.”
Highlights of the bill include the following provisions recommended by the Commission:
The Congestion Pricing zone would include any roadways in Manhattan south of and inclusive of 60th Street between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for certain public holidays. Establish the fee as recommended by the Commission, including a surcharge on taxis and livery vehicles.
Eliminate the Manhattan long-term parking tax discount for vehicles parked within the zone. Set out privacy protocols based on existing EZ Pass privacy controls.
Provide exemptions for authorized emergency vehicles; safety, traffic and parking control, and inspection vehicles; sanitation vehicles; school vehicles; and privately operated over-the-road buses. Prescribe a residential parking permit program.
Lay out the environmental review process for Congestion Pricing which follows the Commission’s recommendation.
The City will oversee a monitoring program for traffic, air quality, noise, parking and other environmental impacts and release annual reports; a preliminary report will be available to the public within six months of the operation date.
The funds raised by the fee will be used, after deducting for the cost of operations, to support the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) capital plan, which was released at the end of February. Priority for funding will be for areas in need underserved by transit.
Capital expenditures will be subject to approval by the MTA’s capital program review board, and a representative of the New York City Council Speaker will have the same rights and privileges of the board members appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Senate Minority Leader and the Assembly Minority Leader.
For capital expenses derived from Congestion Pricing, the MTA will follow all legally applicable prevailing wage laws.
Any increase in parking fees by the City, as recommended by the Commission, will go into a “transit enhancement fund” to be used exclusively for additional transit, pedestrian, bicycle and parking management improvements, including ferries.
The statute passed last July that established the Traffic Mitigation Commission, requires the Mayor to request the State Legislature to consider the plan where such request has been approved by the City Council by a majority vote on a resolution. It is expected that the City Council will consider such a resolution shortly.