BY CHRISTINA FAN SEPTEMBER 12, 2022 / 5:25 PM / CBS NEW YORK
NEW YORK — Bipartisan opposition is building against congestion pricing.
On Monday, a group of legislators alarmed by the environmental impacts urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to re-think her position, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported.
London is supposed to be the shining beacon of congestion pricing success, but New York City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli is questioning that.
He shared one scathing article after another.
“Nothing says success in a vibrant public transit system as London’s buses moving slower than mice and chickens. This is what we have to look forward to thanks to Gov. Kathy Hochul,” Borelli said.
A group of 20 bipartisan legislators sent a five-page letter to the governor, calling on her to withdraw support from implementing congestion pricing here. They argue it will harm low-income, outer borough residents.
They cited findings from the MTA’s own environment assessment.
“Those are the people we are saying and also proud to be saying are going to pay for the privilege of certain people in Lower Manhattan to have perception that there is less traffic,” Borelli said.
The study found motorists detouring new tolls could add traffic to parts of the Bronx, Staten Island, and Bergen County, New Jersey.
In every tolling scenario, the Cross Bronx Expressway, for example, would see even more cars and trucks on its already congested roads.
“It’s a mess most of the time both ways,” one driver said.
“I never take the 95 because it’s terrible — all day, every day, Monday to Monday,” another said.
“I feel like they are focused on the city more than Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens,” another added.
The study also found the same areas would likely see an increase in atmospheric pollutants.
The MTA released a statement late Monday afternoon saying, “The environmental assessment envisioned seven hypothetical congestion pricing scenarios for traffic modeling purposes, but as of now, there is no specific proposal. What we know is that all of the scenarios attack the problem of severe vehicle congestion in New York City to improve air quality, keep pedestrians safe, and allow buses, police, fire, sanitation, e-commerce deliveries and others to move through the city. Congestion pricing will result in tens of thousands of fewer vehicles choking NYC and dramatically improve air quality for the region as a whole, not just Manhattan.”
Last month, at a press conference about the Long Island Rail Road, Hochul addressed those concerns.
“Their voices are not in the wilderness. We’re paying attention to the issues they’re raising and now that’s on our plate to address,” Hochul said.
The governor’s office declined to issue any new response on Monday.
Hochul previously said she would not reconsider her position.