Until Mayor-elect de Blasio distributes enough oxcarts and lamp oil to last through the First Purge, we still have to address the fact that our streets are clogged with hulking metal machines that belch death and bleed time and asphalt from our pockmarked streets. Any plan to alleviate the issue that's labeled "Congestion pricing" is not politically potable because it has an indefensible clarity of purpose. So now we have an initiative that stresses "fair tolling and transportation reinvestment."
The plan has been touted by former traffic commissioner "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz for some months now, and is backed by Move NY. Under the initiative, the Williamsburg, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Ed Koch/Queensboro Bridges would all cost a flat rate of $5.33, while tolls on the Verrazano, Kennedy, Throgs Neck and Whitestone Bridges would decline.
Two-thirds of the $1 billion the plan would earn annually would be given to the MTA's Capital program, while the final third would be used to repair roads and bridge (an additional $500 million the plan generates would have to be used to maintain the infrastructure of the tolling scheme.)
Gridlock Sam told the Times that while Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan “raised revenue to do a lot of good things,” he believes this proposal is fairer. "To be fair was not the fundamental premise [of Bloomberg's plan]."
Proponents say the idea would also generate more than 35,000 jobs.
De Blasio opposed congestion pricing as proposed by Bloomberg, and his camp declined to comment on the Times' report. City Councilmember Mark Weprin opposed congestion pricing too, but says he'd be open to backing this initiative (he's also running for City Council Speaker).
Gridlock Sam's proposal [PDF] notes a "taxi surcharge," but it's not clear how much more a cab ride from Lower Manhattan into Brooklyn will cost. A proposal from 2012 also called for a 50-cent toll on cyclists coming into Lower Manhattan, but that's not mentioned in this proposal. We've asked Mr. Schwarz about these issues and will update if we receive a response.