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Foreshadowing of Mayor Bramson's "Green" Motor Vehicle Policies

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Foreshadowing of Mayor Bramson's "Green" Motor Vehicle Policies

June 04, 2010 - 12:37
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Want to get a sense of how "Green" policies work? If you look at the GreenR plan, ICLEI policies and the words of the head of the group calling itself the Regional Planning Association, you will see various ideas to reduce carbon emissions all of which are based on making it more expensive to own a car. In touting ICLEI's work in New York City known as PlaNYC, our Green Mayor always seems to leave out that the first major initiative of his pals at ICLEI in New York was to propose congestion pricing:

New York congestion pricing was a proposed traffic congestion fee for vehicles traveling into or within the Manhattan central business district of New York City. The congestion pricing charge was one component of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to improve the city's future environmental sustainability while planning for population growth, entitled PlaNYC 2030: A Greener, Greater New York.

The Brooklyn Paper reported at the time:

...regular motorists would pay the $8 fee, while truck drivers would pay $21. Drivers moving within the zone would pay $4. The fee would not apply to drivers who use the Brooklyn Bridge to connect directly to the FDR Drive, but it is unclear how congestion pricing would affect Manhattan Bridge drivers, who do not have a direct connection to the highway and enter Manhattan on Canal Street, which is within the $8 zone. Instead of tollbooths, there would be a network of cameras enforcing compliance.

Our Green Mayor also fails to mention the plan was hooted down by NYC residents who balked at the price tag, by representative of the outer boroughs or a report by Richard Brodsky that found it would increase air pollution in the four other boroughs, was a regressive tax, would not deliver the promised environmental benefits and was generally not very well thought out. Sound familiar?

If approved and implemented, it would have been the first such fee scheme enacted in the United States.Nonetheless the proposal did not succeed as it was never put to a vote on the Assembly.

Now we have yet another plan justified by helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions and providing support for public transit. So, if I live in New Rochelle and work in White Plains WHY am I subsidizing rail service from Port Jervis to Manhattan? Is this about fresh air or about getting more money to pay the bloated salaries and benefits of the MTA union workers?

WBCS: N.Y. State Hammers Drivers With Slew Of New Fees

New York's 9 million drivers are furious because in a rush to raise money -- and to make it seem like they weren't raising taxes -- the Legislature increased fees on just about everything having to do with driving.

* The cost of license plates went from $15 to $25

* Driver licenses from $50 to $64.50

* Car registrations from $44 to $55

* And when you register your car you have to pay a county "use tax" of $10 to $60

And there's another new fee you probably don't know about. If you live in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority region it will cost you an extra $50 to register your car. For the privilege of driving you pay a transit surcharge.

How many vehciles are registered in New York State? According to the DOT, over 11mm (as of 2003)

How many carbon-emitting vehicles will these new taxes take off the road? None.

But the State of New York just went into your wallet for an extra ($10 + 14.50 + $11) + [10 to 60] x 11mm.

Or roughly $720,000,000 in new fees -- and this is a regressive tax, hitting everyone equally and therefore hitting lower-income and middle-income families harder. So, while they talk about a "millionaire's tax" in ALbany (that starts around $200,000), they are soaking everyone.

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PlaNYC and its New Roc equivalent are going to be facing a hell of a lot of displeased folk who are going to look at any idea with the cool, steely eyes of forgetting if there is an issue to begin with and if there is, shelve it in favor of some form of attack on people who really feel that we face significant consumer driven issues around elements like energy use, over crowding, congestion, pollution, respiratory distresses caused by same, etc..etc. and so on. Fact is that you do not need to be on one side or the other on isssues like --- "global warming" for every 31 scientists who deny its existence or impact, there are another 31 who raise serious and reasoned arguments that such exist.

This is going to turn out to be similar to an argument on faith, religion, race, etc... or some exercise in cobbling "facts" together to present an argument that engages few people or has any end state. Yes, you probably could raise the prices of cigarettes to unheard of heights and smoking would not be eliminated. So, what is the remedy.

Well, the Chinese took a somewhat logical stand on overpopulation by limiting the number of children a family could have. Were Bloomberg the mayor of Shanghai, he might be able to set up a one car per family law. That'll help.

But not here, not in our consumption crazy economy where we seem to look at solutions to too many civic programs based on our condition or zeal for conspicuous consumption. For example, every time I read about a proposal for a new mercantile or high rise, I am invariably going to hear about traffic, parking, congiestion, etc....

So poor Noam Bramson continues to face ad hominem attack after ad hominem attack from people who simply don't have an answer to the issues they so vehemently attack. Dealing with the Sustainability program is going to be more than problematic and worse than capping the oil well in the gulf. It will take a hell of a lot of time before people involved with this understand and properly position a more strategic short/long term plan with no "greening" applications with some initiatives that address the "greening concerns" For example, the tradional plan may call for builing x new residences, but the sub-plan might spec out that roofs and heating systems are energy efficient, etc.

I am specifically not going to take a position on any initiative at this point or mount any argument to defend what I say or what someone else counters with as a rebuke. It is non-productive and premature. This is baby step time until people, all people proponents and opponents know a hell of a lot more about what these things are or are not.

But, can you really mount an argument for over consumption or against improving quality of life, making energy usage more affordable and safe, planint trees that produce more oxygen (and maybe avoid falling on Strome's car) If you deny the nurture part of the classic nature vs nurture argument you are barking up the wrong tree. It would be nice to ensure that there is a tree to bark up.

So, I support the concept and if I ever can add value to it, I will try my damnest. I would rather add some light and not more heat. This world is getting to be a pretty unpleasant place to live in

warren gross

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