A portion of the $2.5 million in resources being awarded to Seattle by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be used to further study congestion pricing.
An announcement by the city states that Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with Seattle to "evaluate and advance implementation of strategies based on Seattle Department of Transportation congestion pricing study." That is one of four goals to be achieved by 2020.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city has to do "a lot of outreach" and "gain data" on congestion pricing before rolling it out.
"This will allow us to do that work to see how we can do it," she said.
Getting people out of their own cars and into buses and other modes of transportation is one of the initiatives Durkan laid out in a climate action plan earlier this year.
"I think all of us want to be in a city that is easy to get in and out of, that's pleasant to walk around, to bike around, to shop, to have cafes. And so one of the things we can do is look at congestion pricing to make sure that when we enter a certain core of the city, that if you're going to be the person driving in there, you've got to pay more money," Durkan said earlier this year.
The Seattle Department of Transportation was tasked with studying congestion pricing. It's still unclear exactly what it would look like in the city if it was implemented, though Durkan said some form of congestion pricing could be in place by the end of her first term in 2021.
While celebrating Seattle as an initial winner of Bloomberg's American Cities Climate Challenge, Durkan said cities that have implemented congestion pricing have had the "greatest success in getting people out of vehicles" while residents have seen improvements to their health.
It's perhaps not a coincidence that Bloomberg would choose Seattle as one of 20 cities to be awarded with funding to address climate change. Bloomberg has close ties to congestion pricing, having pushed for a surcharge on vehicles in areas of Manhattan to raise money for public transit. But his efforts faltered when the issue reached the Legislature.