NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – With the subways in crisis, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is saying congestion pricing is the only option to fix the system.
Not to be outdone, Cuomo’s Republican opponent says OK, but let drivers deduct the fees from their tax returns.
The line of demarcation would be on West 60th Street, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported. Cross it in a car, truck or taxi going south, and you may soon have to swallow hard and dig deep into your pocket for a congestion fee to enter the central business district: A whopping $11.52 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., if Cuomo accepts the recommendation of his own task force.
Cuomo surprised a group of the city’s movers and shakers at the Association for a Better New York by saying it’s unlikely Mayor Bill de Blasio will cough up some dough, and that congestion pricing is the only viable solution for fixing the subways.
“Here are the options: God is going to send down $33 billion… that’s not going to happen,” Cuomo joked. “New York City is going to dig into its pocket and they’re going to ante up, and the state will ante up. That’s not going to happen. There’s only one way it happens, and that is congestion pricing.”
Cuomo dismissed De Blasio’s continued insistence on a millionaire’s tax as “political blather.”
“Well, ideally we would like to have a millionaires tax,” Cuomo said. “Yes, I wish I could be an elected official who lives in the ideal.”
“Nothing has changed. The governor has been clear the city and state should split the cost of the NYCT modernization plan. Today he simply reiterated his call for congestion pricing to help pay for it,” a Cuomo spokesman said.
Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, says once the MTA tightens its belt and eliminates waste and fraud “by reforming expenditures, by holding down costs, by making the system more efficient,” he would support congestion pricing too. But he wants to offer drivers some tax relief.
“Our plan is they would be able to deduct it from the state’s income tax,” Molinaro said.
And while commuters may cheer, drivers are offering a Bronx cheer.
“It’s a bad idea. I don’t like it. It’s more expensive. I don’t want to pay extra in a yellow cab. Our business is down we don’t need to pay extra,” a cab driver named Zakia said.
Others called congestion pricing a “terrible idea” that would cause people to suffer.
“It’s think it’s a bad idea. We don’t have too much money to pay extra for things in the city,” said Jackson Heights resident Mario Bonilla.
Cuomo said he will ask the legislature to pass congestion pricing when it returns to Albany.
He called on all the movers and shakers at the breakfast today to help convince lawmakers.