2008-04-11 / Letters

Some Musings On Congestion Pricing

Dear Editor,

Shame on the City Council for passing the Mayors ridiculous plan of congestion pricing. The Mayor says he is doing this for environmental and health reasons. Isn't this the same environmentally friendly Mayor who stopped recycling because he felt it would save the city money? The mayor says this will help reduce asthma rates for our young children. Midtown Manhattan and lower Manhattan do not have high asthma rates. Actually lower income neighborhoods like Harlem, Highbridge- Morrisania, Williamsburg-Bushwick, Crotona-Tremont, and Hunts Point- Mott Haven have the highest asthma hospitalization rates according to the city's own website. The website also shows hospitalization asthma rates in NYC have been declining for the last few years.

This is just another way of the Billionaire Mayor bullying everybody to get his way. If the Mayor is so worried about the congestion in Manhattan and he believes every body should take public transportation, why doesn't he cut medallion taxis in half? I am sure that would clear up a lot of the congestion in Manhattan and would compel people who live in Manhattan to take public transportation. If the people who live outside Manhattan are going to have to take public transportation, so should the people who live in Manhattan.

Who is the Mayor trying to fool; this is just another tax that is going to eat into the disposable income of many New Yorkers, and adversely effect the city's economy. Instead of people from the outer boroughs being able to buy something for themselves or their family, they will need to spend it on this ridiculous tax they call congestion pricing. What about the parent that has to drive to Manhattan due to child care issues, or health issues of family members?

The Mayor says this will get the city over $350 million from the federal government and bring in over $490 million annually. This is just a tax on the working person that will go into the already green coffers of the MTA. It's time to hold the MTA accountable for their reckless spending. They need to learn how to be fiscally responsible, balance budgets and stop overspending for capital improvement projects.

I did a little research and was able to find the following facts:

• Mass transit use in New York City is the highest in United States and gasoline consumption in the city is at the rate the national average was in the 1920s.

• New York City's dense population and low automobile dependence help make New York among the most energy efficient in the United States.

• The city's greenhouse gas emission levels are relatively low when measured per capita, at 7.1 metric tons per person, below the national average, 24.5. New Yorkers are collectively responsible for one percent of the nation's total greenhouse gas emissions though comprising 2.7% of the nation's population.

• New York is the only city in the

United States where more than half of all households do not own a car (in Manhattan, more than 75% of residents do not own a car; nationally, the percentage is 8%)

We all want a cleaner environment, but this is ridiculous. The city already has the largest clean air hybrid and compressed natural gas bus fleet in the country, and some of the first hybrid taxis. NYC is also mandated to have an all hybrid taxi fleet in coming years. These measures alone have and are going to continue to cut greenhouse gas emissions released into the air. Not only are taxis going to be using hybrid technology, other city agency's fleet of vehicles are also going to have hybrid vehicles. Maybe the city should consider setting up more park and ride areas and allowing only High Occupancy Vehicles to enter the zone, instead of pricing the people out of New York.

A decade ago, people were leaving Rockaway in droves. Now with the new development of Arverne by the Sea and other improvements in the community, many people from all areas of the city are considering making Rockaway their home. However this congestion pricing may put a damper on our continuing revitalization, because it will cost people an arm and a leg to commute to the city by car, and our transportation to Manhattan stinks. So drivers are going to be subsidizing public transportation and the MTA's mismanagement. Is any of that money going to be used to subsidize and spur economic growth here on the peninsula by removing the tolls for everyone who wishes to come to Rockaway? No of course not. This just may hamper economic growth on the peninsula even more. Congestion Pricing is not the answer!!!

To the City Council members who voted YES to Congestion Pricing, you should be ashamed of yourselves, especially the ones from the outer boroughs. Last year Speaker Christie Quinn, and Councilman Liu, Chair of the Transportation Committee held a meeting in Broad Channel; sat and listened to community members about how hard it is for us in the Rockaways to commute to Manhattan. Well it seems they forgot already because they are both for Congestion Pricing. Also Councilman Sanders, of Far Rockaway voted YES on Congestion Pricing. It's a shame Councilmen Sanders and Liu are in their second term and won't be up for re-election, however, I think the Speaker Christie Quinn does have higher political aspirations. I know I will remember that come election time, and so should every other resident of the Rockaway's. Let's just hope that the State Legislatures will vote it down.

GLENN DIRESTO

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