Truckers hail defeat of congestion plan
The major organization representing the nation’s trucking industry today said it “applauds” what it characterized as the New York state senate’s rejection of New York City’s proposal to charge drivers a fee to drive into parts of Manhattan during most daylight hours.
The senate, which had convened for a special session on Monday, adjourned without taking up the congestion pricing plan, which was proposed to reduce congestion and air pollution in New York City.
The American Trucking Associations said “congestion pricing does little to relieve congestion and is merely a revenue raiser.”
“The congestion pricing effort targets trucks with punitive assessments while they are the least able to modify their schedules,” said Bill Joyce Jr., president and chief executive officer of the New York State Motor Truck Association.
“No freight can be diverted to the subways and buses. It is counterintuitive to charge more to those who have no choice. If successful, the congestion pricing plan would significantly raise costs to those residents and businesses below 86th Street while providing no measurable relief,” he added.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a press conference that he wouldn’t “ascribe motives to the lack of action in Albany, but I can definitively say the environment and the future quality of life in New York took a beating.”
“Although we continue to talk to the legislature and the governor, it’s sad to note that after three months of working with all parties to address their questions, the failure of the state assembly to act in time on a deadline imposed by the federal government is a terrible setback for clean air and to our critical commitment to fight climate change,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg had traveled to Albany Monday to try and win support from state legislators for the plan, but Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver did not return to the legislature to vote on the plan.
Silver suggested a commission should study the plan, which has been controversial with some residents in the outer boroughs of New York and the suburbs as well as with the trucking industry.
City officials are concerned that they might lose access to $500 million in federal funds that could be used to implement the proposed plan, which would use a combination of radio tags and receivers and cameras with optical character recognition to read license plates and charge persons entering into Manhattan below 86th Street.
Cars would have to pay an $8 fee to come into the city and trucks $21, though that fee would be reduced for drivers paying tolls for tunnels or bridges into the city.