God’s Love: We’re Not Against Congestion Pricing

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God's Love We Deliver operates its kitchen out of this building on Spring Street.

Richard Brodsky may have overplayed his hand in his latest attempt to cast congestion pricing as the bane of the less fortunate.

As we noted Wednesday, after Brodsky received a letter from the charity God's Love We Deliver asking for a congestion fee exemption, he began using the organization's request to paint his opponents as cruel and insensitive. In a phone interview this morning, God’s Love spokesman Gary Snieski clarified the position of his organization, which delivers meals from its kitchen in Manhattan to seriously ill people throughout the region.

"We're not against congestion pricing," he said. "What we’re trying to do is work within the congestion pricing initiative and safeguard the interests of our clients." They want an exemption, yes, but not a total collapse of the proposal.

Nor did God's Love intend their letter to become a battering ram for Brodsky. "Once that letter was sent out, the way it was used, we had no control over that," Snieski said, noting that by pitting God's Love against Greyhound (which has received an exemption), Brodsky had created a conflict where none existed before. "He made a very polarized comparison between us and Greyhound that put us in an awkward position."

Having read some of the comments on Streetsblog's original post, Snieski made his case for granting a fee exemption to God's Love. The organization's 16 delivery vehicles must operate during peak hours to deliver meals for clients on strict medication schedules, he said. They do not have the funds to move their kitchen outside the congestion zone.

When I asked if a congestion fee would be offset by lessening costs already incurred by traffic, Snieski said that drivers do get stuck in traffic, but not to the extent that God's Love must pay them overtime. They're usually back at headquarters by 4 or 5. Still, he agrees that traffic is a big problem.

"We're out in this traffic every day. We know how horrific it is, so we're not against [congestion pricing]."

Photo: kchbrown/Flickr