The former mayor of Bogota, Columbia, is in the City today to stump for congestion pricing. Enrique Penalosa is known for instituting a number of transportation innovations in the late 1990s, including a bus rapid transit system, which some consider key to winning the congestion pricing debate here. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman has more.
So far, outer borough legislators have been skeptical about any plan to charge drivers money to come into Manhattan. That's in part because they believe the revenues would largely go to expensive Manhattan-centric projects like the Second Avenue Subway.
The community groups behind Penalosa's visit want to shift more of that money into bus rapid transit, which is a term for any sort of system that speeds up public buses, such as forcing people to pay when they enter an enclosed area at the curb ... instead of while boarding.
The coalition, which goes by the name Commute, has invited outer borough legislators to meet with Penalosa today to convince them that bus rapid transit is a way to improve mass transit in their neighborhoods relatively quickly. The City Council and state legislature are facing a March 31st deadline to make a decision on congestion pricing.