Gov. Hochul Faces Backlash as Albany Halts Congestion Pricing Funds for MTA


Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) is facing the repercussions of her reversal on congestion pricing as Albany lawmakers scrap plans to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins announced the decision on Friday, stating that legislators would end their session without a deal. Her comments are a reaction to Hochul’s abrupt withdrawal from a plan intended to generate funds for improving the city’s subway and bus systems by charging drivers entering Manhattan’s core business district.

Protesters demonstrate outside Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D-NY) Manhattan office, Wednesday, June 5, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Hochul initially approved the tolling proposal but upset lawmakers when she reversed her decision at the last minute after the MTA had already invested $500 million in equipment for tolling.

Her actions left Stewart-Cousins and Albany legislators in a scramble to find an alternative to replace the $1 billion annual funding that Hochul’s scrapped transit plan was expected to generate. After frustrated lawmakers abandoned efforts to bail the governor out on Friday, state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie mentioned there is still time to vote on a funding replacement before January.

Two weeks ago, Hochul had commended the program as essential to “making cities more livable.” However, on Wednesday, she reversed her stance. Facing concerns that the plan’s unpopularity might harm Democrats in competitive House elections, she yielded to pressure from New Yorkers displeased with the plan’s high costs.

“My team worked in the final hours to find a way to implement this … but hard-working New Yorkers are getting hammered on costs,” Hochul stated.

The congestion pricing plan was not well-received by the majority of New Yorkers, including former President Donald Trump. “Instituting congestion pricing,” Trump remarked, “is a big incentive not to come [to New York City].”

The toll would have charged passenger and small commercial vehicles $15 during peak hours and $24 to $36 for trucks and buses.

Emily Hallas
Emily Hallas
Breaking News Reporter. Previously, Emily was a member of U.S. Senator Tim Scott's communications team.

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