State Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette (D-Jackson Heights), dean of the Queens delegation, said the borough's Assembly members met with Bloomberg for about 12 hours, but the mayor was not in a compromising mood on the plan."We go to the meeting, and really what he's saying is, 'This is the way I want it,' " Lafayette said. "You don't talk to legislators in that manner."Assemblyman Jose Peralta (D-Corona) said Bloomberg "was not willing to budge on any amendment.""It was almost Spitzer-esque," Peralta said. "It was kicking and screaming and, 'No, this is how I want it.' He's used to getting his way. But this is not the City Council."Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway Beach) said she would have voted against congestion pricing because she believed the plan did not benefit her constituents."There was nothing offered for the Rockaways," Pheffer said, where most commuters drive because it can take two hours to get to Manhattan using mass transit.The same logic was used by Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck) for the residents he represents."It's unfair to people in eastern Queens because they pay more of the burden and receive less of the benefit," Weprin said. "I'm all for limiting congestion, but there's better ways to do it."Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn (D-Flushing) said the plan "was going to hit working- and middle-class people the hardest."Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-St. Albans) said congestion pricing would have an adverse effect in southeast Queens."It doesn't decrease congestion, it redistributes it," he said. Southeast Queens "already has the problem of being called 'a massive parking lot.' "Like Scarborough, other assembly members said the lack of an environmental review on congestion pricing contributed to their opposition."How do we know that [congestion pricing] was going to be good without an environmental study?" Peralta said.The opinions of Queens residents mirrored the views of their representatives."I feel they shouldn't charge. Times are bad now. They should give us a break," said Christopher Lopez, a 34-year-old real estate agent from Briarwood. "Some of us make money going into the city and now they want to take it from us."
©2008 Community News Group
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