FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2008
LABOR LEADERS URGE LAWMAKERS TO PASS CONGESTION PRICING
Congestion Pricing will Create Jobs and Improve Transit for 95% of Working New Yorkers Who Don't Drive to the Central Business District
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was joined today by Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Michael Fishman, President of SEIU Local 32BJ, Edward J. Malloy, President of the Buildings and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, and Edward Ott, Executive Director of the New York City Central Labor Council, to urge City and State lawmakers to enact congestion pricing legislation this week, so that New York City will qualify for $354 million in federal funds for immediate mass transit improvements. Congestion pricing will reduce traffic, improve public health and generate billions of dollars for mass transit improvements. Only 4.75 percent of the people who live in the other four boroughs and work below 60th street in Manhattan drive to work and will be subject to congestion fee. In addition, recent studies show that infrastructure and transportation capital projects resulting from congestion pricing funds will also create tens of thousands of constructions jobs throughout the region over the next three decades. Today, Governor Paterson amended his congestion pricing legislation to address concerns about the impact on low income drivers and to make certain that commuters who use Hudson River crossings are paying their fair share. The Senate amended its bill over the weekend.
"We continue to make progress towards implementing a congestion pricing proposal that will cut traffic, improve our economy and create jobs," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "Congestion pricing will also cut pollution, which will improve public health and will generate billions of dollars in revenue to improve mass transit for hard working men and women in New York, who overwhelmingly use the system to get to work. The leaders endorsing congestion pricing today recognize that it will benefit their members and they're doing the right thing by taking a stand and offering their support. I commend them."
"RWDSU members rely on public transportation to take them to work each day in Manhattan," said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. It is the working people of New York who will benefit the most from congestion pricing. Improved and enhanced transportation options will be a tremendous boost. The fact that the funds will go into a lockbox will guarantee they will be used for these upgrades."
"Local 32BJ members, like so many New Yorkers, depend on subways and buses to get to their jobs and keep the city running," said Mike Fishman, President of Local 32BJ SEIU -- the largest private sector union in the state. "Congestion pricing will generate the revenue needed to improve our mass transit system so the hard working men and women of this City can have a quality and affordable mass transit system."
"Congestion is an issue we must address if we are to maintain our economic and environmental sustainability. The Mayor's pilot plan represents the best option we have to reduce congestion and generate revenue to invest in transportation infrastructure," said Edward J. Malloy. "The Administrations strong commitment to prevailing wage protections will assure that thousands of good jobs are created for working men and women in our industry. We urge the governor and legislature to move quickly on this issue."
"More than 95% of the working people of this City use mass transit to enter the congestion pricing zone to go to work. This plan provides the funding for the expansion and the maintenance for a world class mass transit system," said Edward Ott, Executive Director of the New York City Central Labor Council. "The congestion pricing plan is well thought out in terms of securing federal funding, expanding our mass transit system, unclogging our roads and highways, creating good, long-term jobs, and sustaining a cleaner environment for the City of New York. My thanks go to the Mayor and his staff for their hard work on this crucial issue for our future."
Stu Loeser / John Gallagher (212) 788-2958
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