Andrew Cuomo

Ethan Harp/WCBS 880

Cuomo Talks Congestion Pricing Days After State Passes Budget

April 03, 2018 - 10:38 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Drivers exhaled with relief when the state's new budget dropped without the widely despised congestion pricing plan, but WCBS Reporter Ethan Harp says transit experts are wondering if the state can cover the cost of New York City's transit makeover.

Even though New York State only passed a much smaller version of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's congestion pricing plan, the governor says the state now has the money it needs to fix the subways.

For the moment, Cuomo is satisfied that there’s enough money heading toward $800 million subway repairs. About half of that will be paid with the new fees on taxi, Uber and Lyft rides and the like below 96th Street.

"So now we have a real funding stream that can make the changes that have been overdue for decades," Cuomo said. "That means that can get underway, full speed ahead. And that is great news because the straphangers can’t take any more delay."

What Cuomo is not so certain about is whether we’ll hear talk again of the $11.52 tolls for cars and $25-plus surcharges for trucks to cross into Lower Manhattan, the centerpiece of the congestion pricing plan before it ran out of gas in Albany, Harp reported.

The governor couldn’t or wouldn’t say Monday if we’ll ever see them back in play.

"That is not in this plan. They would have to pass that. It is not in this plan," Cuomo said. "The only thing that’s in this plan is the surcharge on the for-hire vehicles, with a reduction for pooled vehicles."

And to transportation advocates who may think Cuomo could have fought harder to for his panel’s congestion pricing reccomendations, he told reporters, "I pushed as hard as I could push and this was a major, major achievement, right?"

Transportation groups wanted the fees to help take cars off Manhattan streets while funding mass transit. 

Bottom line for the governor, "Now finally we’re gonna have the money to make the repairs we should have made 50 years ago."