NYC to follow London’s lead on congestion charges

The mayor of New York has examined the impact of London's congestion charging zone as he moves towards introducing a similar policy in Manhattan.

Michael Bloomberg praised London mayor Ken Livingstone’s efforts to reduce pollution levels following a tour of the city centre by bus on Monday morning.

He said that if congestion charges were introduced in New York, he would follow London’s lead by investing heavily in public transport to provide travellers with a more environmentally-friendly alternative to cars.

Mr Bloomberg said: “We would be happy to follow in Ken’s footsteps – or in this case bus tracks – because the major cities really have to learn from each other to meet the challenges of our time and create a sustainable future for our children.”

Mr Livingstone said: “Freedom to sit in a queue is not freedom.

“We didn’t go first because I wanted to take a risk – we went first because we were almost reaching gridlock.”

Mr Bloomberg added that he was confident that a commission examining his plans for congestion charging would give the scheme the green light.

He said: “I just think there would be such a firestorm if they didn’t because every day our children are breathing in this air and every day our shops and businesses are suffering.”

Traffic in the original congestion zone has fallen by 21% and cycling has increased by 43% since the charges took effect in February 2003.

It currently costs £8 per vehicle per day to enter the zone between 7am and 6pm from Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.

Transport for London is currently consulting on proposed changes which would introduce higher charges for the most polluting vehicles.

Kate Martin

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