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Weprin: Traffic Pricing 'Wrong Tax For The Wrong Time'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Opponents of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's controversial plan to charge people who drive into key parts of Manhattan during the week condemned the idea at a City Hall gathering Sunday.

Last month, CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported that officials have been secretly working on a hush-hush congestion pricing proposal for months. The plan would carry a $10 charge to enter Manhattan below 60th Street.

Among those against the idea is Queens Assemblyman David Weprin, who told WCBS 880 Sunday it was the "wrong tax for the wrong time."

SOUND-OFF: Tells us how a potential congestion tax would affect your commute in the comments section below...

Weprin and a group of officials from Queens and Brooklyn spoke out against a similar effort which failed three years ago.

"This is the kind of proposal that pits one borough against another because it discriminates against the boroughs outside of Manhattan. Now is not the time to divide us. We're still in a fiscal crisis," he told 1010 WINS.

Weprin even suggested such a plan could push residents and businesses away from the city.

"Businesses and the middle class are really feeling that maybe New York City is not the place to be. [They may think] it's not the most friendly place to small businesses and to the middle class," Weprin said.

Mayor Bloomberg disagrees with that assessment and in January said "I still thinks it makes so much sense."

"You want to dissuade people from driving because our streets are clogged," Bloomberg said.

Sources said advocates hoped to have a traffic pricing bill before the Legislature sometime this year.

"This is really just another tax on people that really rely on their cars to get into Manhattan that have no other choice," Weprin said.

"No to congestion pricing. No to traffic pricing. No to small business killers."

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