Hochul still 'committed' to MTA improvements despite congestion pricing pause

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Tuesday, June 11, 2024
MTA's Janno Lieber speaks out about congestion pricing pause
Jim Dolan has more on the MTA CEO's comments about congestion pricing on Monday.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday she is "committed" to continuing MTA improvements with an alternate stream of money after pressing pause last week on congestion pricing.

Hochul said the legislature "may be coming back" to pass one of those ideas.

"To assume that the only funding source had to be congestion pricing shows a lack of imagination," Hochul said, without elaborating on other possibilities.

Hochul's decision to indefinitely postpone congestion pricing left a big funding void for the MTA.

The plan was set to raise the Transit Authority approximately $1 billion annually to support $15 billion in capital investment.

"We thought that this year inflation was going to be lower, that more people would be back on the subways, that we would have more buildings and have individuals," Hochul said. "There are still many businesses that stress that individual, that their employees will opt out and stay home and work remotely, or go to another job or even go to another state."

An effort to replace $1 billion in expected congestion pricing revenue for the MTA ended Friday with no deal.

"I'm very sensitive to the passion behind a lot of people who worked hard on this and thought this was the only answer," Hochul said. "I have a perspective that says there are other ways to deal with this. Funding will be there."

"There's a big difference between a pause and elimination," the governor said. "Elimination was an option."

Hochul said she spoke to MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber on Sunday.

"I spoke to Janno Lieber yesterday, and he has been working hard with me, particularly since this announcement," Hochul said.

The governor denied reports she is attending a fundraiser Tuesday hosted by the Greater New York Automobile Association.

She said published reports and internet postings are incorrect.

Meanwhile, Lieber spoke out for the first time Monday after Hochul pumped the breaks on congestion pricing.

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber speaks publicly for the first time after Gov. Hochul indefinitely paused congestion pricing.

"We have to do an intensive review of the best way to reprioritize and shrink the current 2020-2024 MTA capital program," he said. "This is not something we do lightly but we simply cannot award contracts without dedicated funding in place."

As for congestion pricing, Lieber says the MTA will continue finessing details if and when it does get the green light.

"It's not in my nature to walk or to quit," Lieber said. "People did a lot of hard work in hard times. And I couldn't possibly justify walking away because of a single sect act, even one of this magnitude."

ALSO READ: NJ reaction to postponement of congestion pricing

Anthony Johnson has the latest in New Jersey on congestion pricing.


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