Manhattan's latest attempt at disguised taxation has ground to a halt in the most trivial fashion. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed congestion charge for cars and trucks headed into the city below 60th street was summarily ignored by lawmakers. Rather than a contentious fight in the state assembly, the clock was simply run out and the bill died without being put to a vote. The failure of Bloomberg's plan means that New York City will also miss out on 350 million federally earmarked dollars for mass transit, and other ways to improve air quality and decrease gridlock must be sought. Even if it had passed, Manhattan's fee of $8 for cars and $21 for trucks would have been lower than what Red Ken charges for entry to London proper. While the goal of decreasing gridlock and improving air quality is admirable, we can see how the congestion charge would further squeeze those who can least afford it. To be sure, an alternative to Manhattan's current traffic would be welcome, and embracing change isn't always easy, but lets see what they come up with next. Thanks for the tip, RxMadness!

[Source: AFP, Photo by Mario Tama/Getty]