As a supporter of Congestion Pricing, I felt that this week was the time to do whatever I can to help get this legislation passed. So last Saturday I spent some time in Crown Heights (Brooklyn) asking people to take the time to compose a personal letter in their own handwriting to their local representatives (in that case State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and State Senator Eric Adams). I was quite amazed at how many people were willing to do this (it’s not an easy thing to ask for!). On Monday morning I went to City Hall for the Council hearings (wearing the green t-shirt pictured below) and heard testimonies from Speaker Quinn and DOT Commissioner Sadik Khan. Yesterday morning I was part of a small group that met with an aide to City Council member Kendall Stewart, who represents the 45th District (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands), and I also spoke briefly with Stewart himself afterwards.
What I can attest to from talking to ordinary citizens (meaning, NOT politicians) is that even those who weren’t sure where they stood on Congestion Pricing (or knew nothing at all about it) were in favor when told that the revenue would be dedicated to improving subway and bus service. A few expressed understandable skepticism that the money would actually be used for transit improvements, but were somewhat reassured when told that it would go to a dedicated lockbox.
As for our elected officials, many of them seem to be earnestly asking for the data and information that will enable them to answer their constituents’ doubts. Questions about neighborhood parking permits and whether New Jersey and Long Island commuters should pay more than those from the five boroughs seem to be sticking points for some people. But for those of us who don’t drive – a solid majority in all five boroughs – the need for better bus and subway service is not in question.
More posts on Congestion Pricing and Transit Equity in New York City:
• Obama Supports Congestion Pricing!
• Enrique Peñalosa on Transit Equity for NYC
• A Brooklyn Youth’s View on Congestion Pricing
• More Supporters for Congestion Pricing
• Brooklyn and Congestion Pricing: The Numbers