Shortly before 7:30 p.m., the New York City Council approved a measure urging state lawmakers to vote in favor of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s congestion pricing proposal. The vote was 30 to 20, with one member absent.
Assuming that the state legislature approves the move, New York will be the first American metropolis to implement this sort of charge. But it’s not an untested idea. In fact, congestion charges have been used for decades in Singapore, and are becoming increasingly common in cities across Europe. The council-approved plan will charge drivers $8 to cross into Manhattan south of 60th Street—roughly the southern end of Central Park—with the goal of easing congestion, or at least ensuring that drivers on the hypercongested downtown street grid start to pay their own way.
Supporters were quick to praise the council vote:
Less traffic, better transit, cleaner air, good jobs – millions of New Yorkers who share these goals can feel proud that the City Council listened to the facts and today voted ‘yes’ for congestion pricing to put New York on track to this better, healthier, more livable future.
Let’s hope they’re right. Either way, though, it’ll be very interesting to see what comes of this. If it’s successful, will the idea spread? Or will it just become yet another curiosity of the Big Apple?