NY Governor Announces Delay On Congestion Pricing Plan In Shocking Backtrack

Critics have slammed the idea for months.
Elmont, N.Y.: New York Governor Kathy Hochul during an appearance at the Dutch Broadway Elementary School in Elmont, New York on May 9, 2023 in Elmont. (Photo by Howard Schnapp/Newsday RM via Getty Images)
(Howard Schnapp/Newsday RM via Getty Images)

In a shocking backtrack, New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul announced an indefinite delay on the controversial congestion pricing plan for drivers entering Manhattan’s central business district amid fears that it could affect Democrats’ election chances.

On Wednesday, Hochul said she had directed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to push back the new toll’s June 30 start date.

“After careful consideration, I have come to the difficult decision that implementing the planned congestion pricing system risked too many unintended consequences for New Yorkers at this time,” Hochul said in a video announcement.

“For that reason, I have directed the MTA to indefinitely pause the program,” she said.

The governor cited the high cost of living, saying “hardworking New Yorkers are getting hammered on costs.” She added that while New York’s pandemic recovery has been faster than expected, it is “by no means complete.”

The MTA’s congestion pricing plan would charge drivers a minimum of $15 to enter Midtown Manhattan south of 60th Street. Drivers would be charged the rush hour price nearly all day every day — between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekends. Cars would be charged $3.75 during the remaining hours.

The toll is aimed at lessening peak-hour congestion in Manhattan. The around $1 billion raised from the toll is supposed to go towards upgrading subways, commuter railroads, and bus systems.

Hochul is also reportedly concerned about how the expensive toll might affect local Democrats facing uphill battles in House races in the New York City suburbs. Republicans have already started attacking Democrats over the toll.

Additionally, several lawsuits have already been filed over the congestion pricing plan.

For months, critics have slammed the idea of slapping drivers with new expensive charges.

Representative Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican and vocal critic of the toll, celebrated the expected change.

“It is welcome news that Governor Hochul is considering delaying congestion pricing, scheduled to begin June 30, due to our pressure, the public‘s outcry and concerns it will impact Democrats in November’s election,” Malliotakis told the New York Post.


“I urge my fellow New Yorkers to continue calling their city, state and federal representatives because it is working. They are feeling the heat and this war-on-cars cash grab must be reversed!” she said.

Another critic of the toll, International Transport Workers president John Samuelsen, who serves on the MTA board, also sounded off on the reversal.

“I told the governor two years ago that if she imposed the congestion toll without increases in transit service it would be a political disaster,” Samuelson said. “It’s like taxation without representation. She let [MTA CEO] Janno Lieber lead her around like a stooge.”

The MTA is governed by 23 members, who are nominated by the governor, NYC mayor, and local officials.

New York City Democratic Mayor Eric Adams emphasized that the congestion toll should not be a “burden on everyday New Yorkers.”

“We have to get it right,” Adams said. “We have to make sure that it’s not going to impact our recovery. We got to the point of more jobs in this city than in the history of the city because of the support in the recovery effort.”

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