Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Road to Congestion Pricing Plan Less Jammed

By Yesenia Escobar, Amber Gardner, and Robert Abruzzese

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn continued today to press for congestion pricing to be approved by Albany after the measure passed the City Council yesterday.

“Every step that Albany has asked us to take we have taken,” Mayor Bloomberg said at a press conference in Brooklyn.

Mayor Bloomberg also said, “Most of the 30 council members weren’t hard to convince” to approve the congestion pricing plan.

With the approval of congestion pricing, Mayor Bloomberg intends to cut traffic in the Manhattan’s congested areas, decrease air pollution, and improve mass transit.

“A lot of these people understand that if we want mass transit we have to pay for it,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “`I want more things but I don’t want to have to pay for it’ is not realistic.”

At City Hall Council Speaker Quinn seconded the Mayor’s remarks.

“I believe the city of New York desperately needs a continuous revenue stream that will allow us to improve mass transit,” she said.

“Why do we need to improve mass transit?” she asked. “Because we have to get cars off the street because the level of traffic we have is impacting our ability to be the business capital of the world.”

With the City Council voting narrowly in favor of congestion pricing, Mayor Bloomberg said his administration has every right to be optimistic.

“These council members sent a message yesterday. A message from mass transit, a message for air quality, a message to get cars off our streets, and that is a message that New Yorkers should be proud of,” Quinn said.

The congestion pricing plan must get approval from the State Legislature by April 7 in order to receive $354 million in federal funding.

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