Bloomberg Proposes Congestion Charge for Manhattan

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg chose Earth Day to announce a sweeping new master plan for the city. Dubbed PlaNYC, the mayor's proposal would have the Big Apple join London and Singapore in imposing a "congestion charge": drivers would have to pay an $8-a-day fee to drive below 86th street in Manhattan ($21 for commercial trucks).

While the congestion charge is one of the most controversial elements of Mayor Bloomberg's plan (Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrión Jr. commented "I wonder if it is another hidden tax on working people."), PlaNYC contains a total of 127 proposals designed to move the city towards higher levels of economic and environmental sustainability:

The plan is intended to foster steady population growth, with the city expected to gain about 1 million residents by 2030, and to put in place a host of environmentally sensitive measures that would reduce the greenhouse gases it generates.

Mr. Bloomberg also set the parameters for what could be a large piece of his legacy as mayor. In an address outlining the plan yesterday at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, Mr. Bloomberg likened it to the first blueprints for Central Park more than 100 years ago and the construction of Rockefeller Center in the Great Depression.

Other proposals include the creation of a financing authority to complete major transit projects, opening up schoolyards as playgrounds, eliminating a city sales tax on hybrid vehicles, and increasing the number of bicycle paths.

We're big fans of any political leader that proposes innovative ideas for implementing more sustainable development, but we'd love to hear the reactions from NYC residents to the mayor's proposal. Is this a visionary plan for the city's future? We certainly hope so... ::New York Times via bridgekid77 at Hugg

Photo credit: James Estrin/The New York Times

Tags: Congestion Charge | New York City | Transportation

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