NEW YORK mayor Michael Bloomberg this week outlined radical plans to introduce a London-style congestion charge to bridge a $31bn (£16bn) transport funding gap.
Bloomberg said he would seek authority from the State of New York to charge motorists $8 (£4) a day to drive through the busiest parts of Manhattan.
The cash raised would be used to help fund vital upgrades to the city's clogged public transport system, including the new Second Avenue subway, a new rail link connecting Lower Manhattan with Brooklyn, JFK airport and Long Island, and an express subway link to Queens.
Bloomberg has identied 18 crucial transport projects that collectively face a $31bn (£16bn) funding gap. He said that a 'Sustainable Mobility and Regional Transportation' (SMART) nancing authority would be set up to raise funds and issue revenue bonds for mass transport projects.
SMART funds would come from three sources:
£100M from the City of New York,
£100M in matched funding from the state government,
'As the city continues to grow, the costs of congestion - to our health, to our environment, and to our economy - are only going to get worse, ' said Bloomberg, speaking at the American Museum of Natural History on Sunday.
'The question is not whether we want to pay but how do we want pay. With increased asthma rates? With more greenhouse gases? Wasted time? Lost business? Or, do we charge a modest fee to encourage more people to take mass transit?' Bloomberg's congestion charging plan is one of 127 separate initiatives he has set out to deal with growth that will see the number of New Yorkers soar from 8.2M to more than 9M between now and 2030.
His proposals include speeding up the development of the remaining 3,075ha of brownfield land in the city, facilitating the construction of up to 3,000MW of new power generating capacity, piloting energy from waste schemes, and making a heavy investment in the city's ageing water and wastewater systems.