There have been many attempts to pass a congestion pricing plan through Albany in the last decade, but there has never been a moment as ripe as this one. With both chambers of the legislature controlled by Democrats and a governor who today came out of the gate calling for a comprehensive congestion pricing program, New York City comes even closer to tackling the dual transportation crises of a flailing transit system and chronic gridlock.
Congestion pricing must be Albany’s top priority during the budget session this year, and we’re glad to see Governor Cuomo echo that call in his address this afternoon. There are no excuses. Only 4 percent of outer borough commuters drive to Manhattan for work, and those car-owners earn twice as much on average as New Yorkers who don’t drive. Congestion pricing is also a means toward achieving Vision Zero. After London enacted a congestion pricing scheme, total traffic crashes fell 40 percent and the bicycle crash rate fell 80 percent.
While insiders have surmised that MTA governance will be a sticking point during the 2019 session, we urge elected leaders to remember that at the end of the day, it doesn’t much matter to New Yorkers who’s running the MTA. What matters is that they can rely on the transit system to get them where they need to go. What matters is whether they feel safe crossing the street.