Government News NYC

Governor Calls Off Congestion Pricing in NYC

Governor Kathy Hochul abruptly ordered the MTA to halt congestion pricing plans in Manhattan that was set to launch on June 30, 2024.

The Governor cited affordability and the cost of living to avoid added burdens to working- and middle-class families. The plan had been opposed by commuters and was facing several lawsuits.

Governor Hochul said: “Circumstances have changed and we must respond to the facts on the ground — not from the rhetoric from five years ago. So, after careful consideration, I have come to the difficult decision that implementing the planned congestion pricing system risks too many unintended consequences for New Yorkers at this time. For that reason, I have directed the MTA to indefinitely pause the program.”

Hochul continued: “Let’s be real: a $15 charge may not mean a lot to someone who has the means, but it can break the budget of a working- or middle-class household. It puts the squeeze on the very people who make this City go: the teachers, first responders, small business workers, bodega owners. And given these financial pressures, I cannot add another burden to working- and middle-class New Yorkers – or create another obstacle to continued recovery.”

Hochul added: “We remain fully committed to advancing all the improvements that New Yorkers have been promised. That includes immediate investments in reliability and accessibility: track repairs, new signals, adding more elevators at subway and commuter stations. It means security cameras and other technologies to improve safety for riders throughout the system. And it means moving forward with transformative projects, like the extension of the Second Avenue Subway and the Interborough Express.”

The MTA had been preparing for years to launch the controversial plan to reduce congestion in lower Manhattan. Cars would pay $15 per vehicle during peak business hours, Uber and Lyft drivers would pay $2.50 per ride and trucks would be charged up to $36 for entering lower Manhattan below 60th Street.

80% of the revenue raised would go to the NYC Subway and bus system with the remainder going to LIRR and Metro-North. MTA has reportedly spent tens of millions of dollars installing license plate reading equipment to collect fees and will have to now look elsewhere for money.

The MTA has not commented on the move by Governor Hochul to halt congestion pricing.