Legislature Must Reject Epic Hochul Blunder

There Is No Plan B That Can Substitute for Congestion Pricing

Reinvent Albany calls on the New York State Senate and Assembly to reject Governor Hochul’s disastrous proposal to cancel congestion pricing and blow a $15 billion hole in the MTA’s 2020-2024 capital plan. 

Further, we strongly urge the Legislature to completely reject the ill-considered proposal to raise the Payroll Mobility Tax (PMT) within New York City, but not the rest of the MTA service area. We remind the Legislature that the Long Island Rail Road is getting 10% or $1.5 billion, and Metro-North Railroad is also getting $1.5 billion from congestion pricing as part of the 2020-2024 capital plan. It is absurd to ask only NYC employers – who will pass this on to employees – to foot the bill for them. We believe any increase in PMT should include the entire MTA service area, or the MTA should eliminate the 2020-2024 capital funding for the commuter railroads that would have been paid for by congestion pricing.

The Legislature should fully understand that there is no alternative funding source to congestion pricing that can raise $15 billion for the 2020-2024 capital plan without destroying the viability of the 2025-29 capital plan, gutting state reserve funds or burdening MTA riders or all state taxpayers with debt. Further raising the PMT on NYC employees would take this revenue source entirely off the table for the 2025-2029 plan, and is already opposed by business groups, like the Partnership for New York City, who said on NY1 this morning of congestion pricing and the PMT:

“Business[es] right now pays 40% of the cost of the mass transit system. Another 40% is paid by the riders out of fares. Only 13% is paid for by vehicles who absolutely depend on the mass transit system for the viability of the economy of our region. So this was an attempt to adjust and create a more fair and balanced system. Simply to ask business to pay more when we are allowing the vehicles to get off with not paying more is crazy.” – Kathy Wylde, President, Partnership for NYC.

Further, all of the environmental benefits of congestion pricing – including the mitigations proposed for the Bronx to make up for decades of disinvestment – will be gone if congestion pricing is not allowed to proceed.