Mayor Bloomberg’s ambitious and controversial plan to charge drivers $8 to enter Manhattan’s central business district will come to a vote early next month in the City Council, where it faces a very bumpy road, according to our survey of all 17 Brooklyn councilmembers.
If the vote were held today, Brooklyn would be 8–1 against the plan (with six undecideds and two councilmembers who did not return our calls).
Will vote no: “I am opposed to the plan because it is a regressive tax on those who can afford it least. And I think it will create congestion [and] turn the outer boroughs into a parking lot. And I don’t think the MTA can be trusted with the money — it needs more diversity on the board.”
Undecided: “The process around congestion pricing has been woefully inadequate. This is a dramatic change that is lacking a real public process. I am deeply concerned that there will not be substantial transit improvements prior to the plan’s implementation. I am also worried about the plan’s effect on low-income commuters and seniors. Lastly, it’s hard to talk about charging commuters upwards of $2,000 in additional fees every year when the economy is suffering. People need more money in their pockets, not less.”
Will vote no: “I hate it. I think it’s ridiculous to charge people to drive into the central business district in Manhattan. There are parts of Brooklyn that are severely congested, and no one is talking about that. And to charge people [in some neighborhoods] $10 a year for a residential parking permit is nuts! It’s free now. I also think New Jersey residents are not paying their fair share under the mayor’s plan.”
Undecided. “He’s met with everyone — the mayor, other officials and his constituents — but he is worried that it would end up causing more congestion and pollution in his district,” said spokesman Joe Placide. “But he appreciates the mass transit component. He’s weighing it all.”
Will vote no: “I don’t believe that the way to pay for mass transit is to decide who can and who can not come into the central business district of the city by discriminating on the basis of economics. That’s one of 50 reasons. Number two? It’s ineffective. If congestion pricing works perfectly, people will stop driving and it will no longer raise money. I favor a one-third-of-one-percent regional payroll tax. It would raise triple the money that congestion pricing would raise and share the burden across the entire region.”
Will vote no: “Until there are more details on exactly what Brooklyn will get from money generated from congestion pricing, I cannot support this plan.”
Will vote no: “I need certain benchmarks … including 24-hour R-train service, better bus service, restoration of the [69th Street] ferry, and an environmental impact statement. Even if these things happen, we also have to evaluate the track record of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Department of Transportation. MTA, in particular, does not have a good record. They have promised many grand projects in the past, but have failed to deliver.”
Undecided: “The final product has not been presented yet. Until she has had a chance to fully read it, she cannot say how she would vote,” said her spokesperson.
Undecided, but leaning yes: “They’ve agreed to transit improvements in the district, but they haven’t agreed yet to the feasibility study for the G train. I’m weighing my options.”
Will vote no: It hasn’t been proven to me yet that it will help the environment enough to add this tax to my constituents. Even if tons of drivers stop driving stop driving into the zone, eventually, the majority will, little by little, start to drive in again. So that would lead to raising the price, first to $10, then $20, etc. So this forbidden zone will someday be only for the very rich. All commuters who work in the zone should be able to ride mass transit into the zone for free. And drivers from New Jersey should not be excused.”
Will vote no: “For me to vote in favor, someone needs to demonstrate to me how it benefits the communities I represent. Thus far, I am unconvinced.”
Undecided: “The Councilwoman is undecided at this moment. She is taking her time on it,” said a spokesman.
Did not return repeated calls.
Will vote no: “The people from New Jersey must pay, too. I do agree that we need to find a way to get more buses, but parking permits are another no no. They’re another tax as far as I’m concerned. And once they put a fee with the permit, the fee will go up.
Did not return repeated calls.
Will vote yes: “Permanent gridlock in Manhattan will make it harder to keep our city the financial capital of the world. It, along with improvements win mass transit, will help solve the problem.”