Assembly Kills Congestion Plan


| pdavis@queenscourier.com |



Congestion pricing is dead.
With less than 10 hours remaining before the federal deadline to approve Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion-pricing proposal expired, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced that the Assembly conference did not support the plan and would not take the matter up for a vote.
“This was a victory for democracy,” said Queens Assemblymember Mark Weprin, saying that the Assembly conference carried out the will of the people they represent. “It didn’t have support, and that’s why it died.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a number of environmental and business groups had been lobbying hard for the state legislature to approve the plan by the April 7 deadline in order for the city to qualify for up $354.5 million in federal funds to help implement the plan.
Bloomberg’s proposal, which would have charged car drivers $8 and trucks $21 to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street during the weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in order to reduce congestion, improve air quality in the area and raise money for mass transit.
Weprin said it was his job to listen to the people in his district, and they were the ones who overwhelmingly opposed the plan.
“I say good riddance because I don’t think it was fair to the people I was elected to represent,” Weprin said.
Last week, the City Council approved the plan by a 30-20 margin, after Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn spent much of the previous few weeks convincing members to vote in favor of the plan.