Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Congestion Fees - they're baaaack

New York to Get US Traffic Aid, But with a Catch - The Feds approved $354 Million in aid for New York City's plan to reduce traffic, but: 1) The funding is contingent on implementation of the full plan, including congestion fees (the charge on each vehicle driving below 86th Street in Manhattan) and 2) NYC must come up with more than $200 Million to fund the congestion fee portion of the traffic plan because the US won't pick up the tab. The congestion fees have already started a war between Mayor Bloomberg and the NY State Legislature in Albany. W seems to be fanning the flames - the Federal carrot keeps the issue alive, but Bloomberg needs to go back to Albany once again on the unpopular congestion fee, and the legislators are already shaking their heads like side to side bobble head dolls.

Here are some tactical suggestions, Mr. Mayor. Tell those legislators the fees are not hard to collect. In the 80's no car could move in Manhattan without paying a squeegeeman to smear dirt around the windshield. - if people will pay for that, then collecting the congestion fee is no problemo. Promise Albany you will collect all the fees on the way in to Manhattan - what happens if you collect on the way out, as initially planned, and the driver is broke? That's right - an exit fee turns Manhattan into a roach motel for tourists. Finally, appeal to their competitive spirit, if the Brits can do it so can NYC.

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