This one flew under the radar.Back in late April, on Earth Day, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled 127 initiatives aimed at reducing the city’s negative impact on the environment – a key objective of the plan is to cut greenhouse emissions by 30 percent by 2030. A much publicized proposed initiative in the Bloomberg plan is to charge drivers coming into the city south of 86th street a congestion fee of $8.What hasn’t been much publicized is the plan to charge those driving OUT of the zone – including a majority of the Upper East Side – a $8 fee as well, according to the New York Times.
It might seem that anyone taking a car out of the congestion zone ought to be rewarded instead of penalized, but officials disagreed.
“We’re not trying to get people to leave the zone in their cars,” said Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff, who played a leading role in fashioning the plan. “Overall what we’re trying to do is get people to use their cars less.”
In seeking public support for the plan, city officials have not been emphasizing the fee that will be imposed on those driving out of the congestion pricing zone, perhaps in part because the fee would be levied on far fewer drivers than those who drive in every day.
But city officials also appear aware of the political sensitivity of the plan, and are counting on support from people residing inside the zone, who could be expected to benefit from the drop in traffic. Most opposition so far has come from the other boroughs, and the suburbs, where some residents see it as a financial burden and an elitist initiative that favors Manhattan.
The plan seems likely to go through. Approval on the state level would give New York a shot at mega-bucks — over a half billion — from the Dept of Transportation to help implement the overall plan. The Governor supports it and now the State Legislature is expected to make a decision in July.
A spokesman for the federal Department of Transportation, said it was unlikely that New York would get the money if the Legislature did not quickly approve the plan, according to the Times.
While I’m a fan of many of the parts of Bloomberg’s proposal, there’s this to consider — cars are like cigarettes with people, they can’t give them up. So, you know what’s going to happen? This will get approved. People will keep driving in and out of the city, and they’ll pay the congestion fee, and the road rage is going to sky-rocket.
So, instead of almost getting hit by a driver who’s experiencing a meltdown about once a week, I’m betting that’s going to be a daily occurence. I guess I should start wearing this when I leave the apartment: