NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Even with New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo putting his full political weight behind congestion pricing for Manhattan and saying it is an idea whose “time has come,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that he does not believe it is going to happen.
“No, it doesn’t fundamentally change my assumptions on its viability,” de Blasio said, “because so long as this current Republican State Senate leadership is in place, I think it is inconceivable.”
De Blasio provided himself a little wiggle room by saying we have not seen the governor’s plan, and if Cuomo comes up with a different kind of plan, it can be assessed at the time.
Congestion pricing is an idea increasingly popular around the globe that aims to discourage vehicular traffic in dense urban areas while also raising money for mass transit.
Any congestion pricing plan will likely face big political challenges, especially from representatives of New York City’s outer boroughs and the suburbs.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed his own congestion pricing plan that would charge drivers $8 to get into Midtown Manhattan during peak hours several years ago, but it quickly fell apart under opposition in Albany, as reaction from one of Cuomo’s allies in the capital indicates the plans may run into a dead end real quick.
“No, the time has not come,” State Senator Tony Avella (D-Queens) told CBS2’s Tony Aiello earlier this month. “I think we have to see what the Governor is talking about. I mean, there have been no specifics. But I think a lot of elected officials from the outer boroughs are going to have some serious problems.”
The key to most congestion pricing plans is to charge drivers for entering the most congested part of the city — the central business district. One plan that has some support in Albany is called “Move NY.”
In addition to putting tolls on East River Bridges, the Move NY plan would set up an automated toll system, charging drivers $2.75 to cross 60th Street going north or south.
Over the course of an average work year, that adds up to $1,265.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)