Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 5:01 p.m.
For opponents and advocates alike, the congestion pricing bill has been an exercise in imagination. But the full text of the bill that Mayor Bloomberg will put before the City Council is now public, Streetsblog has it online, and more details are emerging.
WNYC’s Brian Lehrer is asking his listeners to comb through the bill to find interesting tidbits about the law. Here’s a few bits worth noting: One of the major complaints made by congestion pricing opponents is that no environmental impact study has been required of the plan, even though the smallest City projects require similar review. The bill notes (pages 18-19) that the City will develop an environmental review before the proposal is implemented but after it is passed, and that potential adverse impacts created by the plan, if any, will be addressed at a later date.
Opponents of congestion pricing have also raised concerns that neighborhoods bordering the 60th Street pricing boundary, or outer borough neighborhoods with good public transportation, could become parking lots for Manhattan commuters looking to avoid the fee. The bill (page 20) offers potential solutions to such a problem, including a residential parking permit program and the installation of muni-meters in affected areas.
Some new funding for transportation improvements, independent of congestion pricing, will be created through increasing the fees at parking meters. According to the bill (page 37) should the Department of Transportation increase parking fees below 60th Street following the implementation of congestion pricing the amount that increase represents will be placed in a “transit enhancement fund.” Like the congestion pricing funds, this money will be used for a variety of transit improvements. But unlike the congestion funding this money will not be administered by the MTA, but by the City, said Bloomberg spokesperson John Gallagher.