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Michael Bloomberg almost did it. The schematic map was all drawn up, the studies were encouraging, and his constituency—eight million New Yorkers, and millions more who did business there— was lurching towards acceptance. Mayor Bloomberg was going to bring a congestion-charging scheme to New York City and transform the streets south of the 86th urban parallel by making it a lot more costly to drive downtown.

The defeat happened years ago, but for most people in transportation policy the wound is still open and the opportunity is still missed. Congestion charging isn’t something that has taken a serious foothold in the States, though there are some fledgling pricing based systems in placed like San Francisco and Miami. A congestion charge in New York City is a bit like a gold dipped domino: it would instantly become the most impressive and sought after system in America and pave the way for other cities to initiate systems of their own. If New York can do it, then there’s no reason that Los Angeles or Des Moines, Iowa couldn’t do it as well.

Mayor Bloomberg and his lieutenant, NYCDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, presented the idea in 2007 when they unveiled the PlaNYC2030, an ambitiously formulated plan that had no chance of full scale completion but increased the likelihood of piecemeal accomplishment; a practice in politics known stateside as “moving the goalpost.” Congestion pricing was one of those long shot goals, but it was still within the realm of possibilities if Bloomberg could muster up the political will throughout the halls in City Hall and Sadik-Khan could design the scheme.

Read the entire article at the: SustainableCitiesCollective

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