Aaron Naparstek of Streetsblog has details
of the congestion-pricing deal which was struck in Albany today, and I have
to say it’s a good one. Somehow, the dysfunctional New York system has managed
to pull something strongly resembly a victory from the jaws of defeat.
This is much more than an agreement on a panel to study city traffic, as the
NYT’s Danny Hakim would have
it. Rather, New York City gets to propose exactly the same thing to the
new panel that it proposed to the US Department of Transportation on June 22.
The panel can fiddle with the proposal as much as it likes, but – and
here’s the clever bit – once all the fiddling is over, the average reduction
in vehicle miles travelled must remain.
If everything goes according to plan, that stipulation will ensure that New
York City gets at least $250 million in federal funds to help subsidize this
groundbreaking and necessary idea. And once those funds are in place, the congestion
scheme will swing into action. After looking it over, I have to say I’m optimistic.
I don’t know why it had to take so long and be so acrimonious, but all’s well
that ends well, and I’m sorry for all the
rude things I wrote about New York State’s politicians.
Actually, let me keep that apology on ice for the time being. If the bills
get passed, and the federal funding kicks in, and everything goes as smoothly
as can be hoped, and traffic in midtown starts to fall – if all
that happens, then I’ll take back what I said. But just because something ought
to happen in New York never means that it will happen. For the time being, file
me under "cautiously optimistic".