One of the reasons that, in spite of having obtained a Master's degree in Planning, I could never be a planner, is that I don't have the patience it seems to take. One works on a project for months, or years, and then it stalls forever in some bureaucratic/political quagmire, or its gets canceled for lack of funds, will or energy. I would be tearing my hair out.
The recent failure of congestion pricing to pass in the NY Assembly, seemingly as a result of Sheldon Silver's lukewarm or non-existent support, is more than a shame. It is an example of upstate legislators, with their narrow view of traffic and congestion, preventing New York City from trying something new and innovate (at least in the USA, congestion pricing is being implemented world-wide.) The current fall back is that maybe it can be renewed later, or in another,more palatable form. That's the way the planning cookie crumbles, to mix a metaphor, you have to pick up the pieces and try again.
And then begins the second-guessing.
Congestion pricing is considered a success in London, whose considerably more autocratic may, Ken Livingstone pushed it though with little opposition and much public support over a year ago...in fact, at the time, the chairman of the London Transport said they need to "tackle the (SUV's) coming into central London. They are damaging and unnecessary vehicles in a densely urbanised, twenty-first century city."Can you imagine that statement in the New York Assembly? Livingstone is also proposing that high-emission vehicles (SUV's, Porsches,) be charged $48 for entry!
There is now a backlash.
A report from King’s College never publicly released by Transport for London and only discovered following a specific request reveals that Mayor Ken Livingstone’s new emissions-related congestion charge is estimated by TfL’s own consultants to increase CO2 in Greater London by 182,000 tonnes. This not only contradicts the Mayor’s claims that his charge will reduce CO2 but also directly contradicts claims made by Transport for London.
Porsche agrees (natch) and says: "What those facts reveal is that this new tax is predicted to increase the level of CO2 emitted in Greater London and to reduce levels of air quality. While Porsche continues to provide Londoners with a range of vehicles with reduced CO2 emissions and other pollutants, the Mayor and TfL pursue policies that are not evidence-based."
The increase in emissions is based on the theory that drivers will drive more outside the congestion zone "to avoid the congestion fee," though exactly how this changes things is left unsaid.
To paraphrase a famous statement, don't confuse the issue with facts. Congestion pricing is not solely about reducing emissions, there's also the intangible quality-of-life issues; fewer vehicles mean a better public space, and increased used of public transit will (or should) lead to better transit. And, evidently, the emissions within the congestion zone will have decreased.
I think the jury is definitely still out on this one.