Congestion pricing deadline nears

With the deadline for New York to become eligible for more than $500 million in federal funding for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s congestion pricing proposal looming on July 16, it is still unclear whether the state legislature will return for a special summer session to vote on the proposal.
“No, I haven’t heard anything at all,” Queens Assemblymember Rory Lancman told The Queens Courier. “As each second passes it makes it seem more unlikely.”
Lancman, who plans to introduce a counter bill to Bloomberg’s proposal in the Assembly by Friday, July 13, characterized the Assembly as having “overwhelming opposition,” toward Bloomberg’s plan.
Lancman’s legislation, which he believes will give drivers incentives not to drive into Manhattan instead of having the city charge a tax on drivers, received another shot in the arm on Tuesday, when Brooklyn State Senator Carl Krueger announced that he was going to introduce Lancman’s bill into the Senate, making it a two-house bill.
However, Bloomberg is still urging lawmakers to approve his plan, which would charge car drivers $8 and trucks $21 to enter Manhattan south of 86th Street during the week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., in order to reduce traffic congestion in Manhattan’s central business district.
Governor Eliot Spitzer and State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno have previously backed Bloomberg’s proposal, and Bruno joined Bloomberg in Washington D.C. to meet with federal lawmakers about the city receiving funding.
“If the Assembly acts by that time, the City stands to receive a generous once-in-a-generation infusion of federal dollars for transportation,” Bloomberg said. “However, if the Assembly fails to act, it will be bad news for New Yorkers - bad in the short-term and also bad for years to come.”
Bloomberg also criticized Lancman’s proposal saying that it would not generate revenue to make improvements to mass transportation, and that his plan would add $30 billion to make those improvements during the next 20 years.

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