NEW YORK The New York City Council on Monday voted to impose a traffic congestion toll of $8 on cars entering a large section of Manhattan as part of a plan to cut emissions and raise millions of dollars for mass transit.
The plan, which is the centerpiece of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's drive to reduce the city's carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, has to be approved by the state legislature before taking effect.
Modeled on a plan launched in London in 2003, the measure passed with support from representatives from outside the borough of Manhattan, including all members from the Bronx, which has some of the highest rates of asthma in the city.
Critics said it would unfairly penalize New Yorkers living in less wealthy boroughs of New York City who travel to Manhattan for business.
"People in my district do not drive into Manhattan because they like to drive," said Councilman David Weprin, who represents part of the borough of Queens. "The cost of living in New York City is already high enough."
The plan would charge $8 for cars and $21 for trucks entering a large section of Manhattan on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The state legislature in Albany must approve the plan by April 7 in order for the state to be eligible for a $354 million federal grant.
"It is now completely clear that congestion pricing has the support of New York City," Bloomberg told a news conference after the vote.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)