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Gov. Kathy Hochul ditches New York City congestion pricing plan last-minute, explained.


Gov. Kathy Hochul is putting the brakes on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's controversial congestion pricing system plan more than three weeks before the June 30 start date. 

Hochul, a Democrat, cited that the tolling program places an untenable financial burden on New Yorkers coming into the city on top of grappling with the state's increased cost of living and housing woes.  

Regular passenger vehicles would have been expected to be hit with charges as much as $7.50 to enter Lower Manhattan, with commercial vehicles looking at daily tolls ranging between $15 and $36.

"We cannot ignore the facts," Hochul said. "Given these financial pressures, I cannot add another burden to middle class New Yorkers or add another cost to our recovery."

Critics pounced on the indefinite postponement of the pricing plan, calling it an intiative that was doomed from the start and a political cash grab on the part of the governor. 

"Congestion pricing is the newest component of Governor Kathy Hochul's ever-increasing tax burden forcibly imposed on New Yorkers," said Republican Congressman Anthony D’Esposito in a statement.

"Governor Hochul is realizing her constant nickel and diming of taxpayers is widely loathed across New York, but we can't allow Hochul and her Democratic allies to merely delay the implementation of this new tax until after the election for solely political purpose..."

"We will continue the bipartisan effort to ensure this bad policy is canceled permanently," he added.  

MTA officials have staunchly defended the program arguing it would serve as a critical new revenue stream to maintain and expand its mass transit service — including the Long Island Rail Road — and reverse the tide of its unstable fiscal position.

Environmental experts also praised the program as a way to curb congestion on city streets and ensure the safe passage of emergency vehicles.   

MTA officials could not be reached for comment as of press time, saying all questions should be directed to the governor's office.  

“I am pleased to hear reports of a delay in the implementation of congestion pricing, a proposal I have vehemently opposed from the outset," Assemblyman Ed Ra,  a Repbulican from Franklin Square said in a statement. "The governor’s last-minute reversal exposes her true intentions—this was never about protecting the environment but rather a maneuver aimed at generating revenue from the pockets of suburban commuters and small businesses.”
It remains to be seen what alternative solutions the Governor will seek to generate the $1 billion in revenue for the MTA promised by the pricing plan. 
Ra said that work needs to be done to establish  a "streamlined and sustainable MTA that doesn’t perpetually seek new funds from Long Island taxpayers.”
“The political exploitation of revenue streams must end. It’s time to prioritize the well-being of New Yorkers above all else,” he added.