So, earlier I wrote that I was hopeful that the financial meltdown might help New York City make some of the hard decisions it has, as yet, been unable to make on good policies like congestion pricing. Megan responded that this wasn’t going to happen, because Wall Street was the constiuency for congestion pricing, and Wall Street is now weaker. This kind of missed the point, which was that the crisis might make groups formerly opposed to congestion pricing (and similar proposals) more amenable to them, since the alternatives would be worse.
But to immunize myself from further criticism based on my outsider status, let’s flip the script and focus on the District. From DCist:
D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi is now estimating that District government revenue projections for the next two years have fallen by nearly $500 million during the past three months. The news marks the fourth consecutive quarter that Gandhi has announced lower revenue projections.
Now, it’s possible that the District will expand things like performance parking, which has debuted in a few select areas in the city, in order to increase revenue. It may even revisit the idea of congestion pricing, which has come up a few times. But even if these measures aren’t enacted, the crisis may be having a beneficial effect on aspects of city policy. Having followed the debate over the Brookland small area plan fairly closely, I get the impression that economic conditions have been a boon to its supporters. There is the sense that the city can’t afford to turn away jobs and tax revenue by reducing the potential scope of development near the Metro station.
Even as the crisis has slowed the progress of current development, it has probably helped to make future development denser and better, for the city and the environment.