ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn’t giving up on the idea of imposing new congestion tolls on motorists entering the busiest parts of Manhattan.
The Democratic New York governor said on WNYC radio Friday that he believes a budget deal being negotiated with top lawmakers will include the first phase of congestion tolling.
A state panel recommended congestion tolls up to $11 on private vehicles as a way to address gridlock and raise funds for New York City subways and other pressing transit needs. But lawmakers so far have balked, with the Senate’s Republican leaders vowing to oppose any new tolls and the Democratic majority of the state Assembly backing much smaller surcharges and only on for-hire vehicles traveling below 96th Street in Manhattan.
The Assembly proposal would also impose a $1-per-ride fee on Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services statewide, a provision being fought by Uber.
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Cuomo acknowledged the political challenges of approving new tolls but said decisions about how to address traffic and the city’s beleaguered mass transit system have been put off too long. He said he hopes all sides can agree on a deal that at least includes surcharges on for-hire vehicles entering the zone.
Another potential compromise would include funding to install the cashless electronic equipment in Manhattan needed to collect the tolls.
“Congestion pricing doesn’t happen in one fell swoop,” Cuomo said. “There are phases. I’m cautiously optimistic that we could start the process.”