Some of New York’s elected officials loudly opposed congestion pricing, but none of them admit they want the MTA upgrades killed. MTA Capital Construction / Rehema Trimiew
We asked 26 lawmakers who support the congestion pricing pause how they propose to fund transit upgrades. Most shrugged.
By Sam Mellins

With New York’s congestion pricing program indefinitely paused, lawmakers face an urgent question: how to fill the $15 billion hole that Governor Kathy Hochul’s decision opened up in the budget of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates buses, subways, and commuter trains serving millions of New Yorkers daily.

So far, they don’t have many ideas.

The program’s revenue, generated by charging drivers $15 to enter downtown Manhattan during peak hours, would have provided the MTA $1 billion a year. That would have funded upgrades to Great Depression-era signals in subway tunnels and new elevators and escalators at Long Island Rail Road stations, among other projects.

When New York lawmakers passed a landmark bill to slash greenhouse gas emissions, the law was heralded as one of the most ambitious climate plans in the world. Now, the growing backlog of deadlines has left the law’s backers in dismay. Climate reporter Colin Kinniburgh shared the story with Radio Catskill.

Governor Kathy Hochul at the Latino Pastoral Action Center on Sunday. Governor's Press Office
After the governor declined to answer questions, a New York Focus reporter was ejected from her event.
By Sam Mellins

At a Sunday event in the Bronx, Governor Kathy Hochul refused to provide details on her plans to fund mass transit after her decision earlier this month to pause congestion pricing punched a $15 billion hole in the budget of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

A New York Focus reporter repeatedly asked her how she plans to provide cash to the authority, which was scheduled to begin a program on Sunday that would charge drivers $15 to enter downtown Manhattan during peak hours. Without replacement funding, the nation’s largest public transit system will be forced to cancel projects ranging from new subway stations to elevator installations, and could fall into general disrepair.

Hochul pledged that won’t happen, but provided no specifics.

We are happy to announce New York Focus will partner with ProPublica as part of ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. Spencer Norris will continue on our team investigating homelessness. Keep an eye out for coming investigations.


Copyright © New York Focus 2023, All rights reserved.
Staying Focused is compiled and written by Alex Arriaga
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