Engel Blasts Congestion Charge


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Congressman Eliot Engel, who represents a district that swings from Riverdale in The Bronx all the way through Rockland County, has made it official and come out in opposition to congestion pricing.


"The Mayor promises that the money from congestion pricing will go towards mass transportation, but the experience of the lottery money for education is illustrative. Money from the lottery went to education, but the money previously allocated by the State and City for education abated, replaced by lottery money. We can expect the same from this scheme; congestion pricing money goes to mass transit freeing up money that had been allocated for other purposes," said Engel.


The full statement is after the jump.


News from

Congressman Eliot Engel


Representing the Bronx, Westchester, and Rockland Counties


Offices in the Bronx, Mount Vernon and West Nyack


2161 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515


Contact: REDACTED         

For release: November 1, 2007

 


STATEMENT BY CONGRESSMAN ELIOT ENGEL


ON CONGESTION PRICING


 


             Something must be done about traffic into Manhattan, but congestion pricing as now proposed is not the answer. All it will do is move Manhattan’s problems to the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. There is inadequate public transportation available to handle the expected influx of passengers, and the MTA estimates creating such an infrastructure will cost approximately $750 million. (Based on experience, we can assume that by the time it is built, the cost will be closer to $1 billion.)


 


            Socially it will also be divisive: the Emerald City of downtown Manhattan with an admission charge, and the rest of the boroughs -- the 718 people -- paying to get in.


 


            Riverdale, Kingsbridge, and Wakefield face more parking, traffic, and pollution problems as people from Yonkers, Mount Vernon and even Rockland drive here, park, and transfer to public transportation. It is unfair to them and it is unfair to the Bronx. (This has already happened. Within the past few years parking meters were installed in Kingsbridge to stop Westchester drivers from parking and taking mass transit to Manhattan.)


 


              The Mayor promises that the money from congestion pricing will go towards mass transportation, but the experience of the lottery money for education is illustrative. Money from the lottery went to education, but the money previously allocated by the State and City for education abated, replaced by lottery money. We can expect the same from this scheme; congestion pricing money goes to mass transit freeing up money that had been allocated for other purposes.


 


            Further, subways and buses are already overcrowded. Adding the extra crowds expected to be generated by congestion pricing, before added space is available does not make sense. 


 


            The $8 fee for cars will also encourage toll increases. The Port Authority is already talking up a toll increase and MTA Bridges is talking about a $5 toll on the Henry Hudson Bridge. Since the toll will be deducted from the $8, no matter what the bridges charge, up to $8, drivers will be paying the same amount.


 


            In short, the results of congestion pricing will be added tolls, added traffic, and added air pollution, but less parking spaces.


 


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