‘Queen of Christmas’ songwriter gives holiday jeer to NY’s congestion pricing plan

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A holiday songwriter who touts herself as the “Queen of Christmas” claims transportation officials should be on the naughty list for overlooking how congestion pricing will impact her lower Manhattan neighborhood.
The state’s plan to levy a $15 toll to drive to Manhattan’s busiest streets will lead to a “sharp increase” in motorists on the West Side Highway, which is exempt from the tax — possibly flooding Battery Park City, local resident and musician Elizabeth Chan claimed in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court.
“As anyone who has ever driven in this area is painfully aware — and apparently this number does not include any decision maker in the congestion planning — there is already significant traffic in the area,” fumed Chan in the November suit.
The MTA and federal transportation authorities — who argue the congestion pricing plan will reduce traffic in Manhattan and fund crucial improvements to public transit — did not adequately study the impact of the plan on the neighborhood of around 10,000 residents, Chan claimed in the complaint.
3 Chan, who calls herself the “Queen of Christmas,” has filed suit against transportation officials in federal court. Getty Images
Chan fears that traffic buildups on the West Side Highway as a result of the plan will lead to more pollution and slower ambulance response times — which is particularly important to her because her daughter suffers from seizures, she told Gothamist, which first reported on her lawsuit.
“I’m so afraid of the day they won’t make it,” Chan said in the article published Monday.
But an MTA spokesperson said “every detail of this issue” has been studied — including in a 4,000-plus-page report on the environmental impact of the plan, which is set to go into effect as soon as May.
3 The state’s congestion pricing plan is set to take effect as soon as May. Stephen Yang
“Now it’s time to deal with the congestion that’s clogging roads and slowing down buses, emergency vehicles and commerce while also polluting the air we breathe,” MTA spokesperson John McCarthy told Gothamist in a statement.
Chan has released several albums of Christmas songs, and once successfully won a legal case against R&B artist Mariah Carey, who had filed a claim with the US Patent and Trademark Office in hopes of blocking anyone else from using the moniker “Queen of Christmas,” court records show.
3 State officials like Gov. Kathy Hochul say the congestion pricing plan will reduce traffic in crowded areas, improve air quality and provide the MTA with needed funding. ZUMAPRESS.com
The court found that Carey — whose 1994 hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is an annual staple on the radio during the holiday season — should not be allowed to exclusive ownership of the “Queen” title.
“No one person should hold onto anything around Christmas or monopolize it in the way that Mariah seeks to in perpetuity,” Chan told Variety at the time.
“That’s just not the right thing to do,” she added. “Christmas is for everyone. It’s meant to be shared.”

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