Deputy Majority Leader And Congestion Pricing Proponent Begins Series Of Rail Ride-Alongs To Get Commuters' 2 Cents


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Lawmakers and transit advocates took to the rails Tuesday to survey subway riders, and push for transit funding in the upcoming state budget.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris kicked off a series of subway ride-alongs at Queensboro Plaza station.

He asked riders what they think can be done to make their commutes better, and called for congestion pricing to support a state funding plan to modernize the subway.

“We need to do congestion pricing, both to alleviate the congestion problem we have and to raise money,” Gianaris said. “But then we need to do more than that because even congestion alone is just a fraction of what the subway system needs.”

NYC Subway (file)

New York City No. 7 line train (file) (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The state budget deadline in on April 1.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has long pushed for congestion pricing, even going so far as to ask lawmakers to choose between the controversial practice of potentially charging drivers to drive in Midtown or a 30-percent fare hike to fix the failing Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The fare hike would be on top of an increase that’s already under consideration.

The MTA is antiquated, plagued with overcrowding, endless delays, broken signals and, according to the governor, in need of an overhaul.

“The MTA’s performance is simply indefensible,” Cuomo said on Feb. 8.

Web Extra: Michael Gianaris On CBSN New York:

Appearing on CBSN New York the same day, Gianaris, the Senate’s deputy majority leader, spoke about the governor’s pitch, saying the 30-percent increase option is a bit extreme.

“I think the governor is being a little creative to identify the scope of the problem for people and encourage them to focus on congestion pricing as a solution, and hopefully it will never come anything close to that,” he said.