Congestion pricing halt prompts fallout, TWU rally in Brooklyn

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, June 6, 2024
Hochul facing backlash from supporters of congestion pricing
N.J. Burkett has the story in Lower Manhattan on congestion pricing.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Reaction continues Thursday after Governor Kathy Hochul made the stunning decision to delay congestion pricing.

The program will no longer start on June 30 and has in fact been postponed indefinitely.

The postponement comes as the gantries that would read license plates and toll drivers remain standing.

Hochul made the announcement just before 10 a.m. on Wednesday and since then, there has been a ripple effect of reaction from both supporters of congestion pricing and the opposition.

The plan has been in the works over the last five years.

Drivers would get tolled $15 on streets and avenues below 60th. The MTA projected that the program would generate $1 billion in revenue, which would go towards funding transportation repairs and upgrades.

Among the upgrades would be new railcars and high-tech rail control systems to run more of them, more often. Also planned were gleaming electric buses, upgrades to the Second Avenue subway which would expand north into Harlem and more stations made accessible to the people with disabilities.

Now, the plan is at a red light and the reactions are continuing.

Kathryn Wylde runs the city's most influential business group, Partnership for New York City, and was among those who drafted the congestion pricing plan.

"We now have spent over half a billion dollars on the infrastructure equipment necessary to implement the zone. That money's down the drain, if we drop the congestion pricing," Wylde said.

She says she disagrees with the decision and says the city's economy needs the benefits that will come with congestion pricing. She spoke with the governor.

"Well, the governor is very concerned about the affordability of the city, about the impact of increased taxes and tolls," Wylde said. "And we agree with that. And we appreciate that she's been somebody who doesn't want to increase taxes on people or on businesses, and we think that's very important. Well, unfortunately, if we don't do the congestion pricing, we're going to have bigger tax increases."

Meanwhile, the president of the Transit Workers Union says he warned the MTA it was not ready to impose congestion pricing.

"It was a betrayal of blue collar New York. This had to be accompanied by new service. It couldn't just be accompanied by the slap of a toll and no added benefit for working people beyond what they already have," said John Samuelsen, President, TWU International.

Local union members will be rallied Thursday at their headquarters in Brooklyn.

They called on MTA CEO Janno Lieber to make necessary improvements to the transit system.

READ MORE: Congestion pricing in New York City indefinitely postponed, official says

The Eyewitness News Mornings @ 10 team reports on the postponement of congestion pricing.


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