Feds give city $354M to put traffic fee plan in drive

The government announced Tuesday it's giving the city $354 million to implement Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan.Officials called Bloomberg's plan "bold." "I share the

BROOKLYN - The government announced Tuesday it's giving the city $354 million to implement Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan.

Officials called Bloomberg's plan "bold." "I share the mayor's confidence that the support will be there," said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters. "Drivers are paying today in time delays and unreliability."

However, the funding is contingent on state lawmakers approving the mayor's pricing plan within 90 days of convening their new session, which starts in January.

Bloomberg wants to charge drivers $8 entering Manhattan below 86th Street from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Truck drivers would pay $21.

While lawmakers failed to approve the plan due to the fees, they submitted a letter of agreement about draft legislation last month. The letter allowed the city to stay in the running for the federal money, despite missing the deadline.

The federal award is nearly $200 million less than the amount the city requested in its grant application. The Transportation Department said the city will have to come up with other ways to fully fund the project.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.

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