2008-02-08 / Community

Officials Give Praise For 'Congestion Pricing'Plan

The Campaign for New York's Future - a broad citywide coalition comprised of more than 150 civic, labor, community, environmental, public health and business organizations - today praised the independent New York City Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission for recommending an alternative congestion pricing plan that, according to the independent Commission's research, will reduce traffic levels in all five boroughs while raising billions of dollars for transit improvements and service expansion across the city and the region.

"Less traffic, improved and expanded mass transit across the five boroughs, and cleaner air - today, we're one step closer to making those three things a reality for all New Yorkers," said Michael O'Loughlin, Director of the Campaign for New York's Future. "After months of deliberation and more than 50 hours of public hearings, the Commission has proposed a traffic relief plan that will also deliver mass transit expansion and improvements across the New York City region. This is exactly what voters have asked for in polls and public hearings, and it's what we need to improve our quality of life today and ensure New York remains a great place to live as we add one million more residents in the coming years."

"Today's vote for congestion pricing is a historic moment: the launch of a real solution to New York's traffic and airquality crises," said Andy Darrell, Regional Director of Environmental Defense, a national non-profit organization headquartered in New York City. "The commission has designed a congestion pricing system that delivers cleaner air on day one and guarantees transit expansion in all five boroughs and the suburbs. Now the legislature must act. We may never again have a chance to address our congestion and pollution problems so effectively."

"After 14 public hearings, countless hours of feedback and a detailed study by some of the brightest transportation minds anywhere, New York City now has an even better roadmap to improve our mass transit system, ease congestion and clean our air," said Marcia Bystryn, Executive Director of the New York League of Conservation Voters. "We salute the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission for all of its work, and we look forward to working with the City Council and the State Legislature to deliver the comprehensive transportation solutions that New Yorkers have been asking for."

"After more than a dozen public hearings, 40 hours of testimony and input from hundreds of New Yorkers, the State Legislature's commission has produced a plan that will finally break gridlock and fund public transit," said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives.

"Today, New York City is one step closer to becoming a more economically and environmentally sustainable city," said Roger Toussaint, President of TWU Local 100. "We have before us an opportunity to promote a 21st Century transit system that relies on a more efficient transportation network and promotes less traffic. We call upon now our elected officials to do the right thing and work towards adopting a congestion pricing scheme for New York City."

"We applaud the Traffic Mitigation Commission for listening to the people of New York and crafting an improved congestion pricing plan," said Kate Slevin, Executive Director of the Tri- State Transportation Campaign. "This congestion pricing program is the mechanism that will win New Yorkers faster commutes, improved transit, and a more livable city. We now ask the City Council and State Legislature to fulfill the vision of a greater, greener New York by passing the congestion pricing plan by the March 31st deadline."

"Regional Plan Association commends the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission on a new plan that is fair, raises more money for transit, reduces more traffic, cuts concerns of big brother and is simple to understand," said Bob Yaro, President of Regional Plan Association. "Given the state's current constrained budget environment, we would challenge any state or city legislature to come up with a similarly well thought out plan that reduces economy-draining traffic in the city and region and raises $500 million per year in critical funds for transportation improvements. Congestion pricing will not solve all our transit problems, but it is the most promising and innovative way of maintaining and expanding our transit system amidst state budget shortfalls and an upcoming recession. And it even brings the promise of $354.5 million to fund immediate transit improvements in all five boroughs."

"The Point CDC wholeheartedly endorses congestion pricing, but it cannot stop there," said Adam Liebowitz, ACTION Program Director for The Point Community Development Corporation. "If a plan is implemented without clear and defined delegation and prioritization of the funds generated, then we must view it as a failure. We are presented with a unique opportunity to receive an unprecedented amount of revenue, and this money must go only to improving public transportation, and go first to the neighborhoods that need it the most."

"We recently surveyed over 3,000 everyday New Yorkers from across the city on Neighborhood Quality of Life, and we found that traffic-related problems such as pollution, safe conditions for walking or bicycling, dangerous intersections or street crossings, access to public transit and traffic congestion were rated extremely important," said Peter Kostmayer, President of Citizens Committee for New York City. "With this Commission's congestion pricing plan, we have a chance today to make a real impact on all of these. This is a historic opportunity for our city, and we encourage our leaders to take advantage of it and to approve this plan. New York's $354 million check is waiting for us."

"We support the alternative congestion pricing plan because the status quo is an unsustainable option for our communities," said Cece Carpio, Environmental Justice Programs Director for UPROSE. "Things need to change and it needs to happen now, this matter is urgent! The next steps are to see what legislators do with our future and our right to breathe."

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