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State of New York Will Consider NYC’s Driver Fee

Posted on April 2, 2008 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

NEW YORK CITY — The controversial proposal to charge drivers in the busiest parts of Manhattan took a major step forward on Monday, with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quinn wrenching approval from the City Council by an unusually slim margin.

Under intense pressure from the mayor, Quinn, and their allies that continued almost until the voting began, council members approved the plan to charge most drivers $8 to enter a zone below 60th Street by a vote of 30 to 20, with no abstentions and one absence.

Approving the proposal, Quinn said, would send a message to the legislature that the "people who were elected to represent the New Yorkers who live in our five boroughs are sick and tired of our streets being clogged with traffic, we're sick and tired of the children who live in our city literally having to fight to be able to breathe, and that we see congestion pricing as a solution to this problem."

But the ultimate fate of the proposal now resides in Albany, where the intentions of lawmakers whose approval is needed remained unclear. Gov. David Paterson and the Senate majority leader, Joseph Bruno, have expressed their support. But Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has derailed Bloomberg's ambitions in the past, remained noncommittal, telling members of the Democratic conference on Sunday night that he would not take the issue up until the state budget was completed.

If the Assembly waits to act until after the budget, it could threaten the bill's chances in the Senate, because it would come before the Legislature as a stand-alone item, making approval more elusive. Several council members complained as they voted that the mayor had reneged on a promise that they would not be asked to take up the measure until the State Legislature had agreed to support the proposal.

Source: New York Times

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