New York hems and haws over Manhattan congestion fees

Today is a make-or-break, do-or-die, fish-or-cut-bait, poo-or-get-off-the-pot, we-wish-we-could-think-of-more-hyphenated-clichés day for New York, as state legislators, Governor Eliot Spitzer, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrestle over Bloomberg’s proposal to enact traffic congestion fees. Following the lead of cities like London and Singapore, the Big Apple would charge a fee for vehicles entering or exiting Manhattan below 86th Street at peak hours. Supporters say the plan will reduce air pollution and associated health problems while boosting public transportation; opponents fear it will increase parking and pollution in the outer boroughs. While infinite bickering is fun, today is the deadline for $500 million in federal transportation funding. Bloomberg can’t get the money without the approval of the state legislature, which has no session scheduled today. But he’s gone to Albany to sweet talk the higher-ups, while lawmakers are rumored to be meeting behind closed doors.