NYC is being pushed into congestion tariffing backed by Kathy Hochul

Mayor Eric Adams said on Wednesday that his hands – and the city – are tied when it comes to changing the controversial introduction of congestion fees, which Gov. Kathy Hochul is backing.

“Congestion pricing – New York City has very little impact. I mean, New York State just wants to control New York City too often,” Adams said Wednesday during an event hosted by Crain’s New York to discuss the plan that could force drivers going into Manhattan to do so during rush hours up to $23 in fees to pay next year.

“How is this going to affect a county with high levels of asthma and make sure we’re not being unfair to the outskirts?” Adams wondered, referring to the South Bronx county, represented by Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres.

Though he’s a longtime congestion charging advocate, Torres said he felt “ambushed” when MTA officials revealed the Cross-Bronx Expressway could pass over 700 trucks any day under the new plan.

The Democrat said the program is likely to add to the area’s already high level of congestion.

Mayor Eric Adams said New York City has done so "very little input" when it comes to the controversial congestion tariff.
Mayor Eric Adams said New York City has “very little leverage” when it comes to the controversial congestion pricing plan.
New York Mayor’s Office

“We need to have a thoughtful conversation about who we’re going to gut [and] under what circumstances and I’m open to that and making sure we get it right,” Adams added, repeating the call for certain exemptions to be included in the plan.

He was also on the mayoral campaign trail for congestion awards.

“This is what happens when the MTA makes bad spending decisions for decades,” Hizoner tweeted along with a video of a flooded subway station in July 2021.

gov. Kathy Hochul is a proponent of the MTA's congestion charges.
gov. Kathy Hochul is a proponent of the MTA’s congestion charging plan.
Dennis A Clark

“We need congestion charging as soon as possible to protect train stations from street flooding, raise entrances and add green infrastructure to absorb runoff from torrents. This can’t be New York,” he said.

Hochul, meanwhile, denied there was any discord with the Big Apple.

“We work together. We hear from the people of New York City and all boroughs, their leadership, the mayor’s administration, and as with many other issues, I work very closely with Mayor Adams to do what is best for the people of this city,” she said later Wednesday during a separate event at the Javits Center with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy — an opponent of congestion pricing.

Adams was a supporter of congestion fees when he was running for mayor.
Adams was a supporter of congestion fees when he was running for mayor.
Stephen Yang

Murphy was highly critical of congestion fees, arguing that payment for MTA’s anemic subway system could not be “on the back” of Garden State residents.

“Whether it’s the way we’re taxed by our neighbors or this proposed congestion charging scheme that would be a huge burden on commuters, we can’t have it both ways,” he told Bloomberg News earlier this month.

“We just want to make sure we’re standing up for our taxpayers and our commuters.”

City Hall later tried to retract Adam’s critical comments in a statement.

“Mayor Adams spoke about the city’s limited influence on the original congestion pricing bill,” Adams spokeswoman Kayla Mamelak said.

“As the mayor has said repeatedly, he strongly supports congestion charging so we can invest in mass transit and reduce traffic. We will continue to work closely with the state to ensure congestion pricing is implemented fairly and equitably, and to ensure New York City receives its fair share of resources to improve our environment, economy and quality of life.” NYC is being pushed into congestion tariffing backed by Kathy Hochul


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