Election 2024 /

NY Post: Gov. Hochul ditches hated congestion pricing plan in stunning reversal over economic fears: ‘New Yorkers are struggling’

  |   By Polling+ Staff

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Gov. Hochul ditches hated congestion pricing plan in stunning reversal over economic fears: ‘New Yorkers are struggling’

Kathy changes her mind.

The New York Post headlines this of New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul:

“New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is ditching the MTA congestion pricing plan — with insiders saying she’s worried that it’s “not the right time” as New Yorkers face a cost-of-living crisis.

Hochul will announce plans to indefinitely delay the toll’s June 30 start date on Wednesday, a source close to the governor’s office told The Post.

“The governor is concerned about the economic recovery in Manhattan and the cost of living,” the source said. “New Yorkers are struggling. It’s not the right time to do it.”

It comes after The Post has reported extensively on the much-maligned toll.

“But not for relentless and objective coverage from The Post and a few other outlets, this would have gone through, no questions asked,” City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) said. 

The expected congestion pricing delay was met with cheers from some of the toll’s biggest critics on both sides of the aisle.

“It is welcome news that Governor Hochul is considering delaying congestion pricing, scheduled to begin June 30, due to our pressure, the public‘s outcry and concerns it will impact Democrats in November’s election,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) told The Post Wednesday morning.

“I urge my fellow New Yorkers to continue calling their city, state and federal representatives because it is working. They are feeling the heat and this war-on-cars cash grab must be reversed!” she insisted.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) also celebrated the impending announcement.   

“After a five-year fight, New York appears to have done right by hardworking Jersey families and backed off their outrageous Congestion Tax,” he told The Post.

“I want to thank Gov. Hochul, Gov. [Phil] Murphy, Fort Lee Mayor [Mark] Sokolich, all involved elected officials, and especially the tireless advocates who focused on the key facts: The Congestion Tax would have caused more traffic and cancer-causing pollution for families in northern Jersey and the outer boroughs,” he added.

Borelli added that “nothing has changed since 2019 but politics.”

“It’s only the politics, though perhaps enhanced by the arrogance of the MTA’s leadership and the finger-in-the-wind flip-flopping of congestion pricing’s original gangster, Andrew Cuomo,” he said.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at a Wednesday morning press conference that he supported Hochul’s decision to delay the toll, adding that congestion pricing “should not be an undue burden on everyday New Yorkers.”   

A delay in the congestion pricing plan start date does not require legislative approval, but the state Senate and Assembly would have to approve legislation to make up for the subsequent revenue loss to the MTA.

Hochul’s waffling, however, came as a surprise to key Democratic lawmakers.

“Senate Dems have not been briefed or given a bill,” said Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), who chairs the finance committee.

Congestion pricing — which was pitched as a way to reduce city traffic, raise money for public transit and improve air quality — has been slammed by both parties as a “cash grab” that will drain even locals who don’t own cars.

The legislation sparked a flurry of lawsuits — including a recent filing from the Trucking Association of New York that denounced the extra tolls for big rigs as “excessive.”

The idea to push back the toll was supposedly planted by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who is aiming to win back the Democratic majority this year, a source told Politico.

But the rumors that Hochul might push back the pricing plan were met with hostility from mass transit advocates — some of whom said the governor needed to “stiffen [her] resolve.”

“New York City public transit riders gave Governor Hochul her margin of victory in the 2022 election. Stopping congestion pricing before it even starts would be an outrageous betrayal of our trust,” Rider Alliance executive director Betsy Plum said.  

“Congestion pricing is the only public policy that can make our subway more reliable and accessible, speed up slow bus service, and help clear the air as wildfire smoke thickens. Governor Hochul must turn it on June 30 as planned,” Plum insisted.

The congestion pricing plan was passed into law five years ago by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Since then, the legislation has remained widely unpopular, with an April Siena College poll revealing that about 63% of New Yorkers oppose the plan, Politico reported.”

The saying is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In this case it was a total wave of opposition from New Yorkers – and they were heard.