There’s going to be a new conductor at the MTA, and while Hochul may be from upstate, from a place where the car is supreme and new taxes and fees are frowned upon, transit officials say it’s full speed ahead on completing a required environmental assessment. So they’ll be ready when the new governor decides what to do about congestion pricing — charging commuters a fee to enter the Manhattan’s Central Business District.
“We are collaboratively along with state DOT, working very closely with the Federal Highway Administration to nail down a really aggressive schedule for the environmental process. It’s gonna deliver congestion pricing promptly,” said Acting Head of the MTA Janno Lieber.
Once the schedule is nailed down, it will take 16 months for the environmental assessment to be completed.
“Sixteen months for a project that’d not one line, but that encompasses 28 counties, 22 million people, and the most extensive outreach, including environmental justice outreach, that has ever been done,” Lieber said.
A spokesperson for the incoming governor told CBS2, “Lieutenant Gov. Hochul has supported congestion pricing in the past, but the pace and timing is something she will need to evaluate further, given the constantly changing impact of COVID-19 on commuters.”
MTA officials understand it will take some time for Hochul to get up to speed.
“In fairness to her, she’s putting her team together. She’s getting briefed on the issues. We’ve got to give her a chance get a little more background before we speculate on what her views on any of these issues are,” Lieber said.
Some officials intend to lobby her hard. Lisa Daglian is the executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.
“Congestion pricing is probably one of the top priorities for New York City and the surrounding region right now and we urge you implement it as quickly as possible,” Daglian said.
A spokesperson told Kramer that Hochul will have more to say about her position on congestion pricing and her plans for implementation in the near future. She’ll also have to decide whether to keep Cuomo’s appointees to the MTA board.
The environmental impact assessment will have to be reviewed by a mobility committee. Decisions will also have to be made on how much to charge and when.