Congestion Pricing Gathering Momentum

The Partnership for New York City, a group that represents New York's business leaders and a supporter of congestion pricing, announced the results of their study on the economic impact of New York City's traffic congestion.

The report, titled "Growth or Gridlock" estimates the cost of traffic congestion at $13 Billion and states that "Every year, these losses will grow if something is not done to reduce the number of vehicles moving through the region during the peak periods."

We have written alot about congestion pricing here at NYC:TOD and I strongly believe that this is one of the best ways we could tame oil consumption and dependency in the city.

As usual Streetblog is also on the case tracking this and has a nice history of congestion pricing in NYC.

Basically, I think the Partnership for NYC has thrown down the gauntlet - $13 Billion a year in lost economic activity. That's huge. And that's not including quality of life impact on residents that are filling back into downtown areas.

Now we can expect the usual chorus of compliants about this adversely affecting businesses or low income drivers who lack access to mass transit.

In some cases the complaints of lack of transit access in the outerboroughs is a real ongoing concern for the poorest in those areas that cannot afford cars and the rest that would rather not drive. But according to the Schaller Study that was completed earlier this year, over 90% of drivers to the Central Business District.

We have to break this endless cycle of debate on congestion pricing and thoughtfully craft some solutions that may include congestion pricing. Or alternatively, we may have to dramatically raise all fees on drivers across the city to pay for the road&bridge repairs, nevermind increasing sources of funding for a mass transit system that can reach out to the outerboroughs.

It does seem that based on Aaron Naparstek's historical look on Streetsblog that even if congestion pricing itself is not achieved, it can be a very large hammer to motivate compromise on increasing mass transit funding and potentially other benefits to the non-car owning majority.