Kheel to Push Free Transit Pricing Plan in ’09 Mayoral Race

As former deputy mayor and Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission Chair Marc Shaw predicts that congestion pricing may re-emerge soon in the form a proposal to toll 60th Street and the East River bridges, the Daily Politics reports that Ted Kheel is planning to put up $1 million to promote his free transit plan heading into the 2009 mayoral election.

"If I was half my age, I would run for mayor in 2009 on the issue," said the 93-year-old Kheel, who has already met with what a spokesman described as "one serious mayoral contender who showed interest in the free transit idea," although he declined to reveal which would-be candidate that was.

Kheel plans a multifaceted campaign to keep congestion pricing in the news that will include advertising and coalition building. No further details were immediately available.

"I now see free mass transit as the key to the resolution of traffic congestion, a problem cities throughout the world face, I am now prepared to spend an additional million dollars to save the city I was born in from choking on automobiles."

The Kheel plan would double the proposed congestion charge for private autos to $16 ($32 for trucks) and eliminate transit fares.