New Analysis Shows Majority of Traffic Mitigation Commission Hearing Witnesses Suggested Improvements to Make Congestion Pricing Work

November 20, 2007


 Contact:   Neil Giacobbi – 917-817-0194 or

                Sean Crowley – 202-572-3331 or
(New York City – November 20, 2007) Fifty-seven percent of witnesses who testified at the recent hearings by the New York City Traffic Mitigation Commission support the concept of congestion pricing as a tool to reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, according to a detailed analysis by Environmental Defense. The timing of the analysis is important because the Traffic Mitigation Commission is meeting for the first time today since the hearings were completed.
“The public hearings show that New Yorkers do in fact support the concept of congestion pricing, although they may want to see the original proposal tweaked and they want to see the revenues spent on transit improvements,” said Neil Giacobbi, a consultant for Environmental Defense who attended five of the seven hearings. “Polls showing majority opposition to the original congestion pricing plan don’t take these facts into account.”
Environmental Defense staff attended all seven commission hearings in the five city boroughs, Long Island and Westchester County between Oct. 24 and Nov. 5, and analyzed the testimony of 149 people who testified. Since the hearing transcripts are not available yet, Environmental Defense summarized the testimony of the 21 witnesses for whom written testimony could not be obtained.
While an equal number of people testified in support of, and against the Mayor’s specific congestion pricing proposal (26% support, 26% oppose), a startling 40% of people testifying at commission hearings suggested improvements to the current plan.
Positions of people testifying at commission hearings:

Support congestion pricing as proposed by Mayor Bloomberg in April 2007 PlaNYC proposal
Support the concept of pricing, have concerns and recommend changes/additions to Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal
Express serious concerns with the current proposal and offer suggestions for improvement
Oppose congestion pricing, suggest other strategies for alleviating traffic
Do not address congestion pricing

Thirty percent of people who testified represented civic organizations, followed by people unaffiliated with an organization (28%). Twenty-one percent of witnesses were affiliated with either the organized opposition to congestion pricing, or the Campaign for New York’s Future, the principal group advocating congestion pricing. The remaining witnesses (21%) were elected officials.
These elected officials cited 32 specific issues and recommendations to reduce traffic congestion and to improve the current plan.
The top five issues and improvements raised by elected officials were:
   1. Concerns about use of congestion pricing revenues
   2. Residential permit parking/boundary parking issues
   3. In-zone charge/zone exit charge
   4. Enforce existing traffic laws in addition to congestion pricing
   5. Concerns about 86th Street boundary

A complete tally of all issues raised by elected officials as well as summary analysis and a detailed inventory of all testimony can be obtained by contacting Environmental Defense.




 # # #