Bloomberg's Green Apple


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In recent weeks, New York City's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has put forth some astoundingly progressive proposals seeking to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion.

His latest proposal seeks to charge a fees ranging from $8.00 to $21.00 for entering lower Manhattan by car between the hours of 6am and 6pm. This idea is modeled after the moderately successful system in London where a similar fee is charged for entering the city's center. Under their plan, the fees collected go toward upgrading and maintaining the city's mass transit system of buses and subways (or "tubes" as they call their underground subway system.)

In addition, Bloomberg is seeking to take several "green" steps including replacing the city's aging fleet of taxis with hybrid vehicles and mandating a change to compact fluorescent bulbs.

Bloomberg's plan to collect fees will need to be passed by the New York State legislature and it appears to be gaining momentum there.

Having traveled to NY many times in my life, I can tell you that the traffic there is awful, and it makes breathing quite difficult for anyone with asthma.

London's program has been only moderately successful in reducing the amount of traffic only because more people have started to drive into the city to conduct business because it's easier to do so than it was before the fees when they simply stayed home. It has actually done more to boost business than it has done to relieve congestion.

I am actually more excited about his green proposals. New York City's electrical demands are starting to exceed the aging system's ability to keep up. Over the past few summers, brown outs and black outs have become more common. There was even a part of the city that lost power for weeks because the insulation on some of the aging transmission wires actually melted, forcing the power company to effectively rewire whole neighborhoods.

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