The refusal of the NY Assembly to implement a congestion charge ($4 for cars and $21 for trucks aka lorries) is a shame. The only amendment I would have recommended would have been to increase the charge on SUVs (I have long been an anti-SUVist). I have been applauding from afar the efforts in NY to improve the quality of life. Even though people in London may not all enjoy paying the congestion charge, it does seem to have reduced inner city traffic and encouraged more bicycles and public transportation. Part of Bloomberg’s 127 point environmental program, the congestion charge was clearly one of the pinnacle measures. As NYC continues to attract new inhabitants (expected to add another one million people over the next 20 years), Bloomberg is right to act now. While some may well be claiming the motivation of his program is a higher political ambition, as far as I am concerned, the program has every right to exist. Having a clean, ‘crime-free’ [more like crime-reduced] New York was Giuliani’s legacy. Aiming to have a clean air, congestion-free New York is Bloomberg’s intended legacy. Some 40% of the 127 measures will require legislative approval. Per an NPR interview, the proposal includes “buying cleaner school buses, cracking down on idling cars, and incentives to make older buildings more energy efficient. New construction would also have to be 20 percent more efficient than currently required…” While I haven’t read the entire manifesto, I cast my vote in favor in principle. I hope that the other measures get a favorable treatment.

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