ALBANY — Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday brushed off a potential congestion pricing plan aimed at reducing traffic and improving air quality in Manhattan, calling it a burden on outer borough residents and businesses.
He was referring to a report in Wednesday’s Newsday in which a state official said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is “exploring how to introduce and test different forms of congestion pricing, including potential fees.” Congestion pricing would charge a fee — past proposals estimated it at $8 — for automobiles entering Manhattan at peak traffic times. The revenue could be used to help pay for the massive repair and maintenance costs of the state’s mass transit system in the city.
“I’ve always had a lot of concerns about it, to be honest with you,” de Blasio told Fox5 in New York. “I’ve never been in favor of those proposals because I haven’t seen one that I thought was fair particularly to folks in the outer boroughs. Now the other fact is that these proposals to date never had any political viability . . . but we know something like a millionaire’s tax could pass because there already is a state version.”
The congestion pricing idea was confirmed after de Blasio pushed for a millionaire’s tax to help pay for mass transit costs. De Blasio’s proposal, which would have to be approved in Albany, was quickly blasted by the Senate’s Republican majority, all of whom face re-election next year on pledges to hold the line on taxes.
Cuomo had said he was exploring several long-term options, but the system also needs an infusion of cash immediately.