Mayor Bill de Blasio has, once again, signaled that he does not support congestion pricing, which has recently gained momentum as a way to fund New York City’s ailing subway system.
During a budget hearing in Albany yesterday, de Blasio told state lawmakers that “I have not yet seen a plan that I could support but I remain open to new versions,” according to the Wall Street Journal. He did, however, express support for “hardship exemptions” in a congestion pricing plan, which would provide carve-outs for people with medical expenses, for example.
The mayor’s support for congestion pricing has long been nonexistent, even as a diverse coalition of supporters—including transit advocates, anti-poverty activists, city officials, and even Gov. Andrew Cuomo—have pushed for the plan as a way of funding subway repairs. In 2017, de Blasio said he “does not believe” in congestion pricing, and later called it a “regressive tax.”
As Cuomo has pushed for adopting a plan (the details of which have not yet been made clear), most recently in his State of the State address, de Blasio’s support has warmed up to merely tepid at best.
Per the WSJ, de Blasio prefers that a funding “cocktail” be used for subway fixes—he’s still pushing a millionaires’ tax on the city’s highest earners, a move that Cuomo steadfastly does not support.
As Ben Kabak noted in a piece for Curbed last summer, “The FixNYC plan released earlier this year proposed various traffic pricing schemes and could generate between $800 million and $1.1 billion annually for transit investment while combatting congestion that costs the city $20 billion annually. And according to an analysis by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, congestion pricing would overwhelmingly affect wealthier New Yorkers.”