New problems for Bloomberg's traffic-fee proposal

(06/15/07) NEW YORK (AP) - New problems have arisen for Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to reduce traffic congestion by charging motorists in the busiest part of Manhattan. The mayor has been trying to win quick approval for the plan from the state Legislature and Governor Eliot Spitzer.

One enticement would be the possibility of up to $500 million in federal aid to help fund mass transit improvements.

But now, an Oregon congressman has written a letter to New York officials, saying he has serious doubts whether the program would be eligible for federal funding. A spokeswoman for Governor Eliot Spitzer says he's confident that the funding exists. The hornet's nest is being stirred by Congressman Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat who is chairman of the House's Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has said there are still many questions to be answered. and he didn't think lawmakers had enough time before the end of the Legislature's regular session next week to pass such a plan.


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