Congestion Pricing Foes Will Go into Attack Mode

Crain's New York Business reports that the group leading the campaign against congestion pricing will begin a lobbying blitz aimed at derailing Mayor Bloomberg's pricing proposal next week, just as the mayor goes to Albany to try to win state legislators over to his PlaNYC initiative. The arguments to be mounted by the "Keep NYC Congestion Tax Free Coalition" range from the speculative to the alarmist:

The Keep NYC Congestion Tax Free Coalition will argue that the proposal is unfair to Queens residents, says group spokesman Walter McCaffrey, the former city councilman. Two-thirds of the borough's inhabitants who need medical treatment travel to Manhattan, he says, especially for high-quality cancer and heart care.

"Especially for seniors, this becomes difficult to bear," Mr. McCaffrey says.

In subsequent weeks, opponents will argue that stores like Macy's and Bloomingdale's in Manhattan will probably pass higher delivery costs on to their customers. As a result, New Jersey residents will shop locally instead of traveling to the city, Mr. McCaffrey claims.

The coalition is also expected to argue that the initial cost -- $8 for cars and $21 for trucks driving within Manhattan below 86th Street during business hours -- will rise sharply. They note that London, the model for the New York plan, began congestion pricing with a fee of roughly $8, which was quickly increased to about $16. Now, the city is considering a hike to roughly $20.