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Community Planning

B.P. Brewer to Albany: Include concerns of Manhattan residents in congestion pricing plan

Canal Street traffic jam, looking westward

Photo by John Blough via Flickr

In a letter, I’m calling on leadership in Albany to add exemptions for people with disabilities, discounts for residents in the proposed zone, and a hold on congestion fee currently in place on NYC yellow and green taxis

NEW YORK – I’m calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to add exemptions and discounts for New York City residents in their proposed congestion pricing plan for Manhattan in an effort to ensure that Albany is taking into consideration the many concerns raised during the congestion pricing hearing that I hosted last week.

I believe that people with disabilities, who either can’t use or are locked-out from our inaccessible public transit system, must absolutely be exempted from congestion pricing.

I believe that the $2.50 congestion surcharge levied on taxi drivers last year must be put on hold until new regulations stabilize the industry. Furthermore, while residents within the potential tolling zone do contribute to congestion when they drive their vehicles and therefore should not have a blanketed exemption, I do think they should receive a discount, as was successfully done in London.

It is my hope that the State will be working hand-in-hand with both the MTA as well as the city’s Department of Transportation in advance of congestion pricing’s potential implementation to increase public transit quality and access in all of our five boroughs. As I stated in my public hearing’s opening remarks, it is common-sense that as we begin to charge for one transit option, we must increase both the quality and quantity of alternatives offered.

My letter calls on Albany to consider the following concerns brought up at the congestion pricing hearing…

  • Discounts or exemptions for people with disabilities, who may be unable to use our city’s public transit system.
  • The potential removal of the congestion fee currently in place on our city’s yellow and green taxis given the current instability of the industry.
  • Discounts or exemptions for residents who live within the proposed zone.
  • Discounts or toll credits for drivers who pass through the congestion zone as well as another tolled crossing.
  • Discounts or exemptions for drivers of more environmentally-friendly or space-efficient vehicles, like electric cars or motorcycles.
  • Potential measures that the state will take to ensure that the MTA will spend the revenue generated from congestion pricing responsibly.
  • Earmarking of revenue generated by congestion pricing solely for the city’s subway and bus systems, also known as MTA-New York City Transit.
  • Steps the city and state must take to properly enforce bus lanes in order to ensure that alternative forms of transportation are as useful and successful as possible.

The complete letter can be viewed here