NYC Congestion Pricing Postponed Indefinitely in 'Stunning Reversal'

MTA and transit advocates in New York City are blindsided by Gov. Kathy Hochul's announcement that the city’s long-awaited congestion pricing plan implementation will not move forward on June 30.

2 minute read

June 5, 2024, 12:00 PM PDT

By Mary Hammon @marykhammon

Aerial view of traffic in New York City entering Queens Midtown tunnel

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the indefinite postponement of New York City’s congestion pricing program, which had been slated to start on June 30. ABC 7 Eyewitness News reports that the governor, who has been a vocal supporter of the plan in the past, framed the “stunning reversal” as economic, saying the timing isn’t right as the city is still recovering from the pandemic and New Yorkers are struggling with housing, food, and childcare costs. “The governor expressed concern suburban commuters would choose to work from home or skip recreational visits to the city,” the article reads.

The announcement is a blow for transit advocates, who “championed the tolls as a way of raising billions of dollars for New York's beleaguered subway and commuter rail systems while reducing traffic in the city's streets.”

It also leaves MTA, which faces a $1 billion budget deficit without implementation and whose board had not been briefed on the delay at the time the article's publication, in limbo. “I'm in shock," Andrew Albert, a member of the board, told the news outlet. "We won't get new buses, new subway cars, new signals. It's a betrayal of the millions and millions of people who would have been helped by this.”

This move is the latest in what’s been a long and eventful journey from conception to near-implementation. Planetizen has reported extensively on the plan, which would be the first of its kind in the U.S., including an analysis by Planetizen blogger Marcelo Remond and Donald Shoup, breakdown of its pricing — including program exemptions and discounts announced earlier this week — the lawsuits filed against it, and more.

The ABC 7 Eyewitness News article says, “There remains a belief that congestion pricing is inevitable” and hints that the motivation for the delay could be political, “as Democrats are facing difficult House races in the New York City suburbs. Republicans have planned to use congestion pricing as a political wedge.”

Wednesday, June 5, 2024 in ABC 7 Eyewitness News

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