FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG PRAISES HISTORIC PASSAGE OF CONGESTION PRICING LEGISLATION IN CITY COUNCIL
The following are the Mayor's remarks as delivered.
"Madam Speaker, thank you. You left one person off the list that deserves thanks and that is you because I think what is clear here is that Speaker Quinn's principled leadership throughout the Council's deliberations on congestion pricing shows this time, as it has in previous times, that she cares about the city and the interests of the city come first with her. It is not easy to corral a lot of people; it's not easy to tackle some of the controversial issues. But Christine Quinn really did stand up and, with the power of persuasion and the arguments that we all know make a lot of sense here, she managed to get 30 votes when I think most people did not expect this to pass.
"Earlier today, as you know, we were up at Yankee Stadium. She was there expecting to have a wonderful day. And people said, 'Oh, it's raining,' but I think it's fair to say that the sun is shining on New York City's future today. The Council has now approved the congestion pricing plan that is embodied in the amended bill that Governor David Paterson is submitting to the Legislature. And as she said, it is now completely clear that congestion pricing has the strong backing of the people of New York City.
"It has the support of both sides of City Hall, of borough presidents, and of Assembly members, State Senators, and members of Congress representing us in Albany and in Washington. It has the support of New York City's organized labor leaders, who today strongly urged quick action on congestion pricing. It has the endorsement of business groups and newspaper editorial pages across the state who have urged Albany to enact this piece of legislation which will give us $354 million in federal money and a recurring, dependable source of funds to work on mass transit improvements which we sorely need in this city. And also to improve the quality of air that we and our children are breathing and to help unclog a city that is really getting stifled by the inability to get across town in the business day from one side to the other.
"Environmental and transportation advocates have long supported congestion pricing, as you know, and the amendments that have been added to this bill significantly strengthen it. They resolve several major concerns that have been expressed about making congestion pricing fair and effective. And now I am increasingly confident that State leaders will do what's right for New York City's future and promptly enact Governor David Paterson's bill.
"If they do, commuters in our city will be able to benefit immediately from mass transit improvements that you will see literally within months. And we've also created then the ability to go ahead and work on some of the long-term projects like the Second Avenue Subway.
"And so this evening's historic vote by the Council really is something that they all deserve congratulations, all of those who voted for it. I think everybody in this city either believes today or will come to believe that this is the right thing to do for New York City and I just wanted to personally applaud those who had the courage to stand up and do what was right, starting with the Speaker and all of her members. So thank you very much."
Stu Loeser/John Gallagher (212) 788-2958