MTA approves Gov. Hochul’s plan to pause NYC congestion toll, pulling $16.5 billion from agency’s budget

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted on Wednesday to support New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) plan to pause the Manhattan congestion toll indefinitely, the New York Post reported.

Earlier this month, Hochul pumped the brakes on the MTA’s congestion pricing plan, arguing it would put “undue strain on already stressed New Yorkers.”

‘It would be fundamentally unfair to the outer boroughs.’

If implemented, to drive on 60th Street and below, most passenger vehicles would be charged $15, motorcyclists $7.50, small trucks and charter buses $24, and large trucks and tour buses $36. The cameras are already installed and the city would use the state’s existing E-ZPass system to collect most tolls. Those without a pass would be charged higher fees for their commute.

The plan to implement a congestion toll and the MTA’s pricing structure have faced several legal challenges.

New Jersey filed a lawsuit in April, claiming it would put an economic strain on its residents, Blaze News previously reported. The complaint argued that the city “failed to adequately consider the environment impacts” and “ignored the significant financial burden being placed on New Jerseyans and New Jersey’s transportation system.”

The Trucking Association of New York also filed a lawsuit stating that the MTA’s pricing framework “disproportionately targets” truckers and logistics companies, which would be fined at a higher rate than passenger vehicles.

Amid the pushback, Hochul announced that she would temporarily pause the congestion toll, which was previously slated for June 30.

“Let’s be real: a $15 charge may not mean a lot to someone who has the means, but it can break the budget of a working- or middle-class household,” she stated. “It puts the squeeze on the very people who make this city go.”

On Wednesday, the MTA board voted 10-1 to pause the implementation of the toll despite noting that it would effectively reduce its budget by $16.5 billion. The funds were slated to go toward public transit improvements.

More than 100 New York residents attended the recent board meeting; most expressed support for the toll. Some carried signs reading, “Gov, Stop Jamming Up Good Law,” “Congestion Pricing = Faster Commutes,” and “Fix the Subway!”

Janno Lieber, the MTA CEO, said, “We will be ready to put Humpty Dumpty back together as quickly as possible.”

“We can keep the machinery of congestion pricing in operating order so it’s ready when the temporary pause is in fact lifted,” he added.

Assembly member Michael Tannousis (R) stated that he opposes the toll.

“I am a major opponent of congestion pricing because I believe, and evidence has shown, it would be fundamentally unfair to the outer boroughs, especially Staten Island and especially Bay Ridge,” Tannousis said. “Don’t get me wrong, I am a user of mass transit. I use the Express bus and I also use the subway. However, this plan would have been to the benefit of a few and the detriment of many.”

In a statement released after the MTA board’s vote, Hochul promised to find “new revenue sources.”

“While the timing of the next budget may necessitate temporary adjustments to the timeline of certain contracts, there is no reason for New Yorkers to be concerned that any planned projects will not be delivered,” she remarked.

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