Back in April of last year, Mayor Bloomberg proposed implementing congestion pricing in Manhattan as part of his PlaNYC initiative. As the day for a recommendation to Governor Spitzer draws near, it seems an opportune time to check in on how the process is going.
The Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission, a 17-member state authority appointed in July, is charged with evaluating the Mayor’s plan and four other alternative plans. On January 10, the commission released an interim report examining each of the five proposals and outlining their pros and cons. In addition to the Mayor’s plan, which calls for an $8 fee to enter or leave Manhattan below 86th Street, there are four alternative plans that suggest options including taxi surcharges, tolls installed at river crossings, increased parking meter rates, and a license plate rationing program that would forbid vehicles from entering the City one of every five days.
The public has until January 31 to weigh in on which plan they prefer. A controversial idea from the start, congestion pricing has been the subject of passionate debate in communities around the City since last summer. The Commission held a series of public hearings over the past two weeks around the five boroughs and in Westchester and Nassau counties to solicit public input. While it’s too late to attend one of these meetings, they’re still accepting comments via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.