Congestion pricing plan gaining ground as lawmakers seek ways to fund subway repairs

2018-12-13 | The New York Daily News

Dec. 13 --Congestion pricing is gaining traction in Albany , where lawmakers desperate to fund mass transit are inching toward cashing in on crowded streets.

An idea that was once as unpopular as roadblocks during rush hour is gaining some momentum among elected officials.

Faced with a public backlash over proposed fare hikes, lawmakers might have an easier time pushing pushing tolls on trips to Manhattan .

Gov. Cuomo is already on board, as well as several local business groups.

Dozens of Democratic lawmakers have already agreed to support a congestion pricing toll, which is expected to be a big issue when state lawmakers meet next month.

The key to a deal would be convincing Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and incoming state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins . Heastie has said he supports some form of congestion pricing, and Stewart-Cousins has said she is willing to reconsider the issue.

Even so, there are big questions on the plan, including how much to charge drivers, whether trucks and commercial vehicles would pay more and whether a discount would be given to low-income commuters.

Proponents touted congestion pricing as a way to reduce city gridlock.

Earlier this year, a Cuomo-appointed traffic advisory panel determined that a new toll could could generate between $810 million and $1.1 billion annually to fund critical subway repairs while reducing congestion by 8 to 13 percent. Supporters include Uber, the Partnership for New York City and Transportation Alternatives.

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