Cuomo Asks NY to Reconsider $15 Congestion Toll

( – New York’s disgraced former Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo, recently crawled out of obscurity to criticize New York City’s plan to impose a $15 congestion toll on Manhattan drivers. Curiously, the fallen politician previously pressured lawmakers to pass a similar measure as part of an earlier budget, but now he’s asking officials to reconsider the plan.

In 2019, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) decided to pass a measure imposing a so-called “congestion tax” on drivers in Manhattan’s Central Business District (CBD). As the New York Post reported at the time, state lawmakers buried the plan on page 252 of a 266-page budget bill in an apparent attempt to hide it from prospective voters in the 2020 election.

They also set a December 31, 2020, deadline for the MTA to complete its work on the plan — weeks after election workers tallied results. However, for some reason, the MTA didn’t complete its required studies until recently.

Cuomo pressured lawmakers to pass the measure to help the cash-strapped MTA collect money for upcoming construction projects and major upgrades. However, he revealed that he’s changed his mind on the proposal during a December 14 interview with Fox News 5 New York.

The former governor cited recent changes for his about-face on the measure. For instance, he noted the rise in remote work opportunities in post-pandemic New York City. “Now there’s [another] choice […] stay home,” he proclaimed.

Nevertheless, the MTA recently launched a page on its website detailing its new Central Business District Tolling Program, otherwise known as “congestion pricing.” MTA officials plan to implement its “first-in-the-nation” program in 2024 as part of an ongoing effort to reduce traffic on Manhattan’s most congested roadways.

Officials claim the new program will “dramatically improve the quality of life” for individuals who work in downtown Manhattan or are visiting the borough’s Central CBD. They connected the measure with the city’s aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet its “ambitious climate goals.” The MTA also noted that decreased traffic would improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

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