Ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who muscled the state’s controversial congestion pricing regulation by means of the legislature in 2019, is now urging officers to place the brakes on this system.
Cuomo not too long ago mentioned the plan — which requires a $15 toll to enter Midtown Manhattan’s enterprise district — simply provides individuals another reason to keep away from a post-pandemic Massive Apple, which continues to be grappling with an excessive amount of crime and the migrant and homeless crises.
“There’s been a change in circumstance,” Cuomo mentioned, referring to when he pushed by means of the laws and New York Metropolis’s post-COVID world.
“There’s now a selection C: keep residence,” he instructed Fox 5’s “Good Day New York” final week.
“‘The price has gotten too excessive. It’s one other obstacle. I don’t wish to pay a better toll to drive into New York Metropolis that has excessive crime, that has homelessness. I’ll keep residence,’” he mentioned, talking of drivers.
“That didn’t exist six years in the past,” Cuomo mentioned of the resistance, fueled at the very least partly by distant work. “No person bought to remain residence. There have been no Zoom conferences.”
Cuomo mentioned a brand new examine must be performed earlier than the plan is applied to seek out out whether or not the $15 toll will discourage individuals from visiting town.
“I want to see an evaluation that exhibits right this moment’s current actuality,” he mentioned. “In the event you increase the tolls, would you trigger extra individuals to remain residence, which might in reality increase much less cash?”
His new stance is a far cry from his rabid advocacy for congestion pricing in 2019, when he pushed by means of the laws regardless of stiff opposition from some lawmakers. The deliberate $15 toll to enter Midtown wouldn’t have occurred with out his prior assist.
“Congestion pricing is the one logical and life like choice to fund the [Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s] capital wants,” Cuomo mentioned on the time.
He claimed that the majority motorists wouldn’t be affected as a result of solely “very wealthy individuals” can afford to drive into Manhattan.
“Outer-borough residents will not be driving their vehicles into Manhattan. That’s not how they arrive in,” Cuomo mentioned then. “I’m a Queens boy. Solely very wealthy individuals can drive into Manhattan. It’s a must to pay the toll. It’s a must to pay parking. . . . Ot in all probability comes near $100 a day.”
He added that “it’s a luxurious” to drive into Midtown.
Cuomo’s flip-flop had some mass-transit advocates fuming. The toll was designed to assist pay for enchancment to New York Metropolis’s ageing subway system, in addition to minimize down on driving, amongst different issues.
“The previous governor may have been remembered for setting us on the trail to repair the subway. Now that he’s out of energy, this Grinch doesn’t need anybody to have a contemporary, dependable, accessible public transit community,” mentioned Daniel Pearstein of the Riders Alliance. “No marvel riders spent years caught on delayed trains, popularizing the infamous hashtag #CuomosMTA.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul, Cuomo’s successor who served as his lieutenant governor, strongly backs the congestion pricing toll that will likely be applied as early as subsequent spring by the MTA she controls.
Hochul left it to the MTA to answer The Put up about Cuomo’s feedback. The transit company Sunday blasted Cuomo for flip-flopping.
“Congestion pricing labored in Singapore, Stockholm and London the place extra persons are visiting the central enterprise district because it began,” mentioned MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan in an e-mailed assertion. “What would actually hurt New York’s persevering with restoration is ravenous subways of a desperately wanted supply of funding after a long time of underinvestment.
“Congestion Pricing means sooner emergency response instances, cleaner air and higher service for a way most New Yorkers journey, so it’s disappointing the previous Governor is flip-flopping on his assist for that,” the rep mentioned.
Cuomo resigned as governor below the specter of impeachment after a slew of ladies accused him of sexual misconduct or harassment — claims he has denied.
Since then, he has sought to climb again to relevancy and even pave the way in which for a political comeback sooner or later.
Underneath the congestion pricing plan, passenger automobile drivers getting into Manhattan south of sixtieth Avenue throughout daytime hours could be charged $15.50 and $3.75 off-peak.
The price for small vehicles could be $24, whereas giant vehicles could be charged $36 throughout daytime hours. At night time, these tolls could be discounted to $6 and $9, respectively, to maneuver traffic-jamming deliveries out of commuting hours.
Some Democrats in New Jersey, together with Gov. Phil Murphy, have vociferously opposed the implementation of congestion pricing. Some New York suburban and upstate Democrats are additionally popping out in opposition to the toll.
Republicans in New York have mentioned they intend to make use of the problem in opposition to Democratic opponents within the 2024 elections.
The tolling program is backed by mass transit and environmental advocates and a few enterprise teams, together with the Actual Property Board of New York.
However advocates for the Broadway Theater District fear the congestion toll will discourage regional vacationers from coming in to see a present.