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Kheel Plan: Double the Congestion Charge & Make Transit Free
Posted By Brad Aaron On December 18, 2007 @ 2:46 pm In Carolyn Konheim,Charles Komanoff,Congestion Pricing,Economics,Fare Hikes,Michael Bloomberg,Studies & Reports,Ted Kheel,Traffic Calming,Transit,Transportation Policy | 35 Comments
"If you were to design the ultimate system, you would have mass transit be free and charge an enormous amount for cars."
So said Mayor Michael Bloomberg last April, right about the time he unveiled his plan to charge motorists a fee to drive into Manhattan's central business district. Eight months later, as the mayor's original proposal mutates  for better or worse, the MTA is hours away  from raising transit fares. Neither idea has exactly caught fire with the public, and the fare hikes could actually end up a foil for congestion pricing -- a plan originally intended as a sustained financial boost for the transit system.
And then there's Theodore "Ted" Kheel . The environmentalist, philanthropist, and renowned labor attorney has lobbied for free transit in New York for over 40 years . Last February he commissioned a $100,000 study  that, as it turns out, could put the city's money where the mayor's mouth is. A summary of findings  released late last week shows that if the city were to impose a $16 congestion fee ($32 for trucks) below 60th Street in Manhattan, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, along with higher curbside parking fees and a taxi surcharge, the MTA could remove its turnstiles and fareboxes forever.
Relying on exhaustive analyses of dozens of factors ranging from vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and transit capacities to emissions and employment data, assembled in an interactive spreadsheet  created by Charles Komanoff, the study, managed by the Institute for Rational Urban Mobility (IRUM) and researched by Joseph Clift, George Haikalis, Brian Ketcham and Carolyn Konheim, found that the Kheel Plan would:
"The PlaNYC proposal, while commendable and courageous, offers little if any relief to endlessly spiraling subway and bus fares," researchers conclude, while "the Kheel Plan banishes fare escalation from the civic horizon by abolishing the fare itself."
While it was developed independent of the Congestion Mitigation Commission process currently underway, its authors say the Kheel Plan "takes Mayor Bloomberg's visionary congestion pricing proposal to its logical conclusion." As Commission chairman Marc Shaw noted at yesterday's meeting, however, that logical conclusion is going to have to be something that "works in the real world" -- a world filled with term-limited City Council members, parking garage industry-funded lobbyists, a debt-laden MTA and various other challenges. Logical or not, one thing is for certain: With the Commission's aggressive timeline  set to deliver an Implementation Plan to City Council by January 31 and Council scheduled to vote by March 28, a conclusion will be reached shortly.
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URL to article: http://dc.streetsblog.org/2007/12/18/the-kheel-plan-double-the-congestion-charge-then-make-transit-free/
URLs in this post:
 mutates: http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/12/17/will-silver-defer-to-city-council-on-congestion-pricing/
 hours away: http://www.nypost.com/seven/12182007/news/regionalnews/committee_on_board_for_mtas_fare_hike_173253.htm
 Theodore "Ted" Kheel: http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/42102/
 for over 40 years: http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/04/02/bridge-and-tunnel-vision/
 a $100,000 study: http://www.nysun.com/article/48469
 summary of findings: http://www.nnyn.org/kheelplan/
 interactive spreadsheet: http://www.nnyn.org/kheelplan/Balanced%20Transportation%20Analyzer%20_%2016%20Dec%202007.xls
 the Commission's aggressive timeline: http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/07/20/the-congestion-pricing-timeline/
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