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Sen. John Flanagan cool to congestion pricing for NYC drivers

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, seen here on

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, seen here on Feb. 6, 2016. Credit: James Carbone

ALBANY — The Republican leader of the state Senate gave an icy response to the notion of imposing “congestion pricing” on New York City commuters as a way to ease gridlock and drum up money for the subway system.

Asked if he could support such a plan, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said Wednesday: “No.” Asked if he thought it could win support from Senate Republicans, Flanagan added: “Not from what I’ve listened to.”

Flanagan’s remarks came right after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo delivered the annual State of the State address in Albany. Cuomo, a Democrat, was expected to endorse congestion pricing during his speech, but he stopped short. Instead of using the phrase, the governor said he favored an “exclusive zone in Manhattan where additional charges could be paid,” which came across to many as hinting at congestion pricing.

Further details could come when Cuomo proposes a state budget on Jan. 16.

A commission Cuomo created to study the issue is reportedly considering charging drivers a fee to enter Manhattan below 60th Street and a surcharge for ride services such as Lyft and Uber.

Flanagan said Republicans would listen to any proposal and “be guided” by the opinions of GOP Sens. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) and Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and Sen. Simcha Felder, a breakaway Brooklyn Democrat who caucuses with Republicans.

“Being from the city, their input is very important,” Flanagan said.

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