Ken Valenti, 8:26 a.m. EDT September 25, 2014
Could the search for $15.2 billion to pay for the New York City region’s transit needs mean a new look at congestion pricing?
Thomas Prendergast, chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Wednesday that the idea, which fizzled out in Albany after a fervent push in 2008, could still be on the table.
The agency, working with politicians and others, will look at various ways to find the second half of the funding for the $32 billion, five-year capital plan.
“That could be one of them," Prendergast said when asked about congestion pricing, adding, "There’s a whole list that we’re going to take a look at.”
The idea of charging tolls to drive south of 60th Street in Manhattan during the work week was pushed hard at the time by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It died when state legislators would not bring it to a vote.
John Corlett, legislative committee chairman for AAA New York, said a congestion pricing plan would hurt many commuters.
“They’re already killing people with tolls,” he said.
Yet, Corlett said a similar plan proposed by a group called Move NY was worth considering because it would pair the new tolls on East River crossings and to drive south of 60th Street with reductions in tolls on bridges connecting areas where transit options are more scarce.
Richard Barone, director of transportation programs with the Regional Plan Association, said the planning organization supports Move NY’s idea. Barone said the MTA’s capital plan was not a “wish list,” but mainly covers the transit giant’s core needs.
“Our city, or region is completely reliant on this system,” he said. “If we don’t make the improvements we need to maintain it then, it’s going to start failing us.” […]