With the hotly-anticipated congestion pricing plan having come out earlier today, reactions to the proposed fees and traffic abatement measures are now pouring in. One of the biggest surprises so far has been Mayor Bill de Blasio’s support of this current proposal.
The de Blasio administration has steadfastly maintained that it can’t get behind a congestion pricing plan because it unfairly burdens low-income New Yorkers traveling into Manhattan from the outer boroughs. On Friday, the Mayor seemed to soften on his prior opposition.
While he didn’t wholeheartedly support the proposal, saying he would need to examine the full details first, he did say it was “a step in the right direction.”
“This plan certainly shows improvement over previous plans we’ve seen over the years, and that’s a good thing,” he said, during his weekly appearance on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, earlier today.
For de Blasio, some of the improvements included the Fix NYC panel’s decision to only place fees on two East River crossings, namely the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.
But he also had some misgivings; he felt the proposal would work best in tandem with imposing his millionaires tax, to fund improvements to the subway; and he also felt the congestion pricing plan needed to ensure there was a way that funds generated from it would only go toward the city’s buses and subways, the New York Times explained.
Governor Andrew Cuomo too said he needs to review the proposal carefully but stressed the urgent need to raise money for the MTA and to alleviate Manhattan’s traffic problems.
“The report accurately points out that the objective is not to raise tolls entering the borough of Manhattan, but more specifically those trips adding to the congestion in a defined central business district,” he said in a statement.
Other elected officials like Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams also expressed a skeptical optimism, much like Mayor de Blasio.
As a regular subway rider, I know our top #transportation priority MUST be rebuilding our crumbling #masstransit infrastructure. As such, I'm open to reviewing #FixNYC's #congestionpricing plan, but the details are critical (e.g. significant locked-box funding must go to @MTA).— Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) January 19, 2018
Activist groups also started rallying behind the plan on Friday. The Riders Alliance was one such group that expressed wholehearted support for the proposal.
“Governor Cuomo deserves credit for the Fix NYC panel’s proposal, which is a strong, progressive plan to raise the money we need to fix our ailing subways,” John Raskin, the executive director of the Alliance, said in a statement. “As the transit system has deteriorated, beleaguered riders have been demanding relief from the governor. Any serious plan to fix the subway will require billions of dollars to implement, and this congestion pricing plan would make that possible.”
“For decades, advocates have been pushing our elected leaders to put forth a serious congestion pricing plan to tackle the region’s twin challenges of traffic and transit underinvestment,” added Alex Matthiessen, the director of the Move NY Campaign. “Today, at long last, Governor Cuomo’s FixNYC panel has delivered!”
We will continue to update this post as we get more reactions through the day.