Statement of Jon Orcutt, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
In Support of Mayor Bloomberg's Congestion Pricing Proposal
April 20, 2007

New Yorkers have complained about traffic and mass transit conditions for as long as anyone can remember. Now we have leadership willing to do something about it. Citizens and elected officials should get behind the mayor’s plan and give it a chance to work.

The plan’s critics are simply advocates for the status quo who have not developed any constructive ideas for funding future generations of transportation infrastructure needs, as the Bloomberg plan does.

Likewise, charges of the “unfairness” of congestion pricing are not rooted in facts. The mayor’s plan would indeed increase the overall equitability of the city transportation system, which today devotes a disproportionate amount of resources to a relatively small number of car commuters. Better mass transit, on the other hand, is an improvement that would be enjoyed by the vast majority of New York City commuters.

Many critics simply do not face up to this fact. Congressman Weiner’s charge on Saturday that the “average” commuter would pay $3,500 per year under the mayor’s plan, for instance, is dead wrong. The average commuter does not drive a car into the Manhattan central business district.

The mayor has proposed that congestion pricing be applied for a three-year trial — that would give New Yorkers a chance to try it and see if they like the results. Voters in Stockholm, Sweden voted in favor of retaining congestion pricing after a similar trial period.