Congestion plan returns as bridge tolls
BY PETE DONOHUE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Congestion pricing is far from dead and will likely resurface, possibly in the form of adding tolls to free bridges, city officials and advocates predicted Friday.
City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said it's too soon to eulogize congestion pricing, which died behind closed doors in Albany last month.
"Most big things in New York don't go through the first time around," Sadik-Khan said at a panel discussion at the Regional Plan Association's annual conference.
"At the end of the day, the failure on congestion pricing that occurred last month was just a setback," said a fellow panelist, former Deputy Mayor Marc Shaw. "I think it will be reconsidered in the near future."
He predicted congestion pricing would come back in a somewhat different and "purer" form: tolls at the East River bridges and across 60th St.
Shaw chaired a commission that recommended charging $8 to drive below 60th St. It largely would have affected drivers who do not currently pay to enter lower Manhattan because they use free East River bridges. The goals included reducing traffic and generating funds to improve the mass transit system.
The issue will "rise again," Shaw said, as the state gets down to figuring out how to fund the MTA's next five-year capital program, which includes expansion projects such as the Second Ave. subway. The current plan expires next year.
Richard Ravitch, the former transit chief picked by Gov. Paterson to lead a search for funding solutions, will be considering congestion pricing, according to Shaw.