New York City mayor unveils ambitious sustainability plans

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg used Earth Day to announce plans to make his burg bloom. The comprehensive “PlaNYC” outlines 127 green dreams, including a congestion charge for lower Manhattan that would — like programs in London and Singapore — see drivers cough up a fee for entering the city at peak traffic hours. Bloomie also wants to improve public transportation, plant more than 1 million trees, and clean up 7,600 acres of polluted brownfields. The plan would make the Big Apple “the first environmentally sustainable 21st-century city,” he said. British Prime Minister Tony Blair concurred in a video appearance, saying the plan would “mark out New York as a global leader in halting climate change.” Bloomberg’s big ideas face a couple of big obstacles — state leaders in Albany and money, money, money — but the biz-minded mayor was optimistic: “Our economy is humming, our fiscal house is in order, and our near-term horizon looks bright,” he said. “If we don’t act now, when?”