The prospect of a looming MTA deficit and rising transit fares is prompting a second look at congestion pricing in Manhattan, a project defeated by the state Assembly in April, notwithstanding a federal grant for $360 million.
"Facing a projected $900 million budget shortfall next year, the authority has proposed increasing transit fares twice in the coming three years, and has asked the city and state governments to provide hundreds of millions in additional aid.
At the heart of the changing dynamic are the politics of transit fare increases. Assembly Democrats killed a scaled-down version of Mr. Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan in April when they refused to bring it to a floor vote."
The state has rejected MTA's request for aid but asked them to "find alternative sources of revenue. They have said they are counting on a commission led by Richard Ravitch, a former transportation authority chairman, to devise a plan to rescue the agency from its deepening financial hole.
Enter congestion pricing. Asked in a recent interview how seriously the commission was considering elements of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's traffic revenue plan to provide money that could bail out the authority, Mr. Ravitch replied, "Very."
"Mayor Bloomberg has said that he sees no alternative. "Congestion pricing will come, in New York and lots of other cities, because it is the only way where you were going to do the two things that you need to do: reduce people driving and find money for mass transit," the mayor told reporters at the National Conference of State Legislatures in New Orleans last week."
Thanks to Mark Boshnack