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Congestion pricing ready to pass in Albany, but would barely affect Kings Countians, analysts say

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The state Legislature is prepared to approve congestion pricing as part of the governor’s executive budget — a measure that would only affect between one and two percent of Kings Countians who drive into the distant isle of Manhattan, according to analysts.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced on Monday that the lower chamber was “ready to go forward” with approving the measure, weeks after the state Senate passed a budget resolution supporting it, according to the New York Times.

Both chambers would have to approve the measure before the state’s April 1 budget deadline, and the Assembly plans to have a bill ready to vote on by Thursday, according to Streetsblog. The move would make the Big Apple the first city in the nation to implement congestion pricing, which would charge a yet-to-be-determined fee to drivers entering Manhattan below 60th Street at peak times.

Proponents of the decades-old idea say it would both reduce the amount of cars on the road and provide about $15 billion annually to the Metropolitan Transit Authority to fund improvements to the city’s beleaguered subway system, according to a rep for the independent Regional Plan Association, who on last week’s episode of the Brooklyn Paper Radio Show said the pricing scheme would impact only 1.3 percent of Kings Countians.

Data compiled by pro-congestion pricing organization Tri-State Transportation Campaign predicted a slightly higher impact on the Borough of Churches, estimating that 2.4 percent of its commuters would regularly pay the charge, and adding that more than 60 percent of its residents take public transit and would benefit from transit improvements.

Other cities, including London and Stockholm, already use the tolling scheme, and have seen environmentally-beneficial results, according to pro-congestion pricing campaign Fix Our Transit.

In London, the measure has reduced traffic by 15 percent and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, and in Stockholm, congestion pricing has cut in half the number of children who sought treatment for asthma at local hospitals, according to Fix Our Transit.

But those who oppose the measure — including Kings County’s own Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush) — charge that the pricing amounts to an unfair burden on the poor.

Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island) agreed with Bichotte’s concerns about the plan, and characterized herself as a “reluctant supporter” of the pricing in order to help fund improvements to the subway system, which she said her Coney Island constituents — whom she characterized as “the working poor” — rely on.

“I know firsthand that just because people are blessed with a car and that they have to go into the city, it doesn’t mean that they’re well off. I know people who are living check-to-check and have a car because they have to have it,” Frontus told this newspaper. “But I’m looking at the writing on the wall and saying, ‘you know what, I don’t want [subway] fares to go up [instead].’”

Data compiled by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign showed that only 3.1 percent of commuters in Frontus’ transit-starved district — which also includes Sea Gate and parts of Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Dyker Heights, and Gravesend — would pay a congestion charge, and that more than 56 percent of the district’s residents take public transit.

And the organization predicts 3.6 percent of commuters in state. Sen. Andrew Gounardes’ (D-Bay Ridge) neighboring and similarly transit-starved district — which also includes Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach — would pay the congestion fee.

But Gounardes cheered the proposed plan, calling it a “necessary step” to funding subway upgrades and an “environmen­tally friendly thing to do.” The freshman pol said that he would push the MTA to use the extra funds raised by the fee to implement more and faster signal upgrades, trains, and accessibility measures at southern Brooklyn subway stations — since the MTA’s current plan to upgrade signals along the R line do not include the stations south of DeKalb Avenue — and added that the move would also push the transit authority to invest some of the money back into the city’s beleaguered bus system.

“I think on the whole this will be a net improvement for our district — we should see improvements to our subway system, our bus system, repairs and maintenance to our express buses,” Gounardes told this paper.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@schnepsmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Posted 12:00 am, March 29, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Wheeee! Just like Europe - we no longer need to be jealous! Since we don't grow apples of have dairy cows we all get to pay for congestion pricing even if we don't have a car! FIrst we create conjestion, making narrow streets narrower, put pic-nik tables in the middle of Times Square, and add the stupidest of bike lanes while demanding no manners or etiquette from the peddlers. Then we charge you for the congestion we created. Anywhere else that is considered racketeering. Isn't congestion the much desired traffic calming? No one is joy riding in those streets. They are earning a living to pay the taxes after paying the tolls, and the parking tax in the lots (another fine racket - parked cars don't pollute of cause congestion - but let's limit the lots -putting cars and double parkers on the street.)
March 29, 8:12 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Next up? Plastic bags! First we made you guilty about paper bags, making you think they were made from the trees in the rain forest. (They are made from recycled, or soft fast growing pulpy trees, farmed for that purpose, just like broccoli) So we gave up our biodegradable paper bags for the new light plastic ones. If only they would repeal the law of unintended consequences!
March 29, 8:15 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Be careful Rufus, all those tears of yours might get into your keyboard and render it useless, much like yourself.
March 29, 9:07 am
Love Rufus from NYC says:
He so speaks the truth. If only we had a government that would dare the same. Unfortunately, our government has two primary objectives 1) asserting absolute power over us - the people they allege to be supporting, 2) collect money from us by whatever means possible, first by making us out to be the bad guys and then fining & taxing the hell out of us - we make it, they take it! And that's the way it goes.
March 29, 9:13 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
The poor drive to Manhattan below 60th street and park? Nonsense. While I support congestion pricing, I disagree that it will have minimal impact. The bedroom communities will become home to wayward out of area parkers coming and taking spaces or trolling for them. RPP forever(residential parking permits) in use in most cities and surrounding areas. NJ has them at all the communities on the Hudson you can see from Manhattan. Two way tolls on the V-N bridge would also help.
March 29, 9:20 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
recycle people not bags..
March 29, 9:27 am
More Reason from Brooklyn says:
Just gives us one mover reason not to go to that Manhattan hell hole, though not that we need one! It's a ball of confusion and people are so wrapped up in it they don't even see what victims they've become of it.
March 29, 9:30 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
First we had the "temporary" surcharge on car registrations in the Beame administration. It's still there. Then we ganged the TBTA tolls to the subway fare. (Wasn't that a congestion charge?) Then we taxed your utility bills for the MTA. Then a parking tax in parking lots. Now this gag - the "Congestion Charge"! When will that not be enough? Remember when a one cent tax on tea brought about a rebellion?
March 29, 9:48 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
When we get our bill for the "congestion price" will we send a check to New Jersey like we do for our water bill and real estate tax? I guess we can't trust NY to count it and not steal it.
March 29, 9:49 am
occasional from brooklyn says:
The law of purposefully ignored obvious consequences. Parking permits and then the requisite expunging of those from Brooklyn who have out of state insurance, which will add to the DMV tax rolls (since you won't be able to get a parking pass with out of state plates).
March 29, 10:19 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Be careful Rufus, all those tears of yours might get into your keyboard and render it useless, much like yourself.
March 29, 10:27 am
Matt from Thank God Not Brooklyn says:
So glad to out of the NYC hellhole. You poor bastards are so screwed. The very rich and very poor will be all that remain. It worked so well in the 70s, lets do it again.
March 29, 10:44 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Be careful Rufus, all those tears of yours might get into your keyboard and render it useless, much like yourself.
March 29, 10:48 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Tears? Hearty guffaws of laughter at the stupidity and greed of the Imperial Idiots in office.
March 29, 10:56 am
Sharon Bernstein from Sheepshead Bay says:
If some of you complaining would take public transportation instead of driving into Manhattan you would get there faster, safer and not have to look for or pay for parking. More time to do other things with your day. Drivers in Manhattan cause deadly accidents every day. I've seen them.
March 29, 11:27 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
So so many tears, the comments prove it. Suck it up, buttercup.
March 29, 12:04 pm
Somebody from Somewhere says:
They said that there will be hardship exemptions if you make a certain amount of money so i think the majority of drivers wont have to pay the toll at all.
March 29, 1:16 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Being passed for the budget doesn't mean that it will actually happen. All this will do is allow for it to be debated on. In other words, nothing is final about it, and this can still be stopped, which I hope it does. However, this time, if it gets stopped, it shouldn't be brought up ever again. I have always seen congestion pricing as both a regressive tax to those who can't afford it while being a punishment to those who have little to no choices to driving. What I have to say to those that still oppose it up in Albany, "Don't amend it, end it!"
March 29, 2:58 pm
Corey Johnson from Transplantland says:
Residential parking permits? Lolololololol. How about no parking whatsoever. That’s the plan comrades.
March 29, 3:11 pm
Corey Johnson from Transplantland says:
All you dumbass mooks and your car culture. New York City belongs to us now, and we will break you and you car culture. Don’t like it? Move to where I came from.
March 29, 3:13 pm
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
Why would someone give up a comfortable seat in a car to stand like a sardine in a crowded subway train on Saturday night at 11PM ? Also half the subway lines are running on altered routes every weekend for repair work with shuttle buses taking their place. There is no guarantee the MTA would even run more frequent service with congestion pricing. Whenever the fare goes up, the first thing they do is give out raises, not improve service. And who will be exempt from congestion pricing except the politicians? And remember the talk about other bridge tolls being lowered if we support congestion pricing? They aren’t mentioning that anymore and talking about not giving credit for the toll you may already be paying so some will be paying twice, once for the tunnel and again when entering Manhattan. Residential parking permits is another scam. You pay to park without any guarantee there will even be a space.
March 29, 10:44 pm
The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
Either much higher fares, much higher tolls, much higher taxes, or congestion pricing. It's the elected officials' choice.
March 30, 1:33 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The Hunkster, it's likely the MTA will be raising fares and tolls regardless to whether congestion pricing passes or not, which is why they should be better audited to prevent such frequent hikes.
March 30, 2:46 pm
ProspectHeightsResident from Prospect Heights says:
Well, Democrats get what they asked for by voting for Dems to control the State Senate. Just another reason to leave NYC permanently. What a damn disgrace.
March 30, 10:33 pm
The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
Tal, the MTA has an audit committee to check how they spend our own money wisely. Since the Great Recession, they cut at least $1B annually in cost saving measures. I know the fares are going up, but how much more depends on the need to pay off debt service and pay for modernizing the subway, bus and commuter rail systems quickly and efficiently. Anyways, back to the audit, there are several NYC and NYS governmental elected officials are holding the MTA hostage through their own audits as well.
March 31, 10:25 am
Two Sets of Books says:
Who remembers the two sets of books scandal? MTA.
March 31, 1:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The Hunkster, it seems that despite your claims, the MTA still acts as if they are broke. It sounds pretty strange that they make so much in just their ridership yet they still claim to need more money despite. What I would like to know is where is it really going to. Also, I can't understand why they need so many outside sources to help fund them. This is why I feel that they need a more thorough audit so that we can see where revenues they already have are going to and using it better before even thinking about some new ones such as congestion pricing. However, it might not make you anti-car fanatics very happy if it makes congestion pricing feel both obsolete and unnecessary.
March 31, 2:45 pm
The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
Tal, Governor Cuomo got your word: He would restructured the MTA from within, despite being the ultimate bureaucratic creature of NYS since 1968.
April 1, 6:21 am
Joe From Brooklyn from Midwood says:
The statement "Congestion pricing ready to pass in Albany, but would barely affect Kings Countians, analysts say" is a gross lie and must have been the product of a Manhattan resident and or by politicians who draw their campaign money from the rich who can only afford to live in Manhattan and do not want those people from the outer Boroughs driving in what these elitist feel is their Borough. Will those living in Manhattan have to pay? If not the law is discriminates. This is an unfair tax in order to extort money from drivers. Streets could be cleared if the TLC, NYPD, and Traffic would enforce the laws. Example double parking of trucks and car, blocking the box, illegal parking etc. The handicap must go in by car because they cannot navigate public transportation. This is purely a moneymaker.
April 2, 11:46 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
When are we going to see congestion charges applied to cyclists, who take up the same amount of space (maybe moreso) than motorists? Drivers are oblidged to give more space in front of and behind cyclists, which means that more space and lanes are needed vs if there were only motorists. Taking out sidewalks would provide enough space for 2, maybe 3 lanes, or at least curbside bays so that motorists can drop off their hardworking passengers right at their place of business. You get what you pay for and cyclists pay zilch to maintain roads, so they should not be given any specail considerations.
April 3, 10:10 am

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