The M.T.A. decided to take on nearly $7 billion in debt today in order to balance its capital budget, which is short $9 billion for the next three years. Former Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch has a novel idea to solve the problem: bring back congestion pricing.
When The Observer spoke with Mr. Ravitch over the weekend about what Conductor Cuomo should do with the M.T.A., he endorsed the same idea he has been putting forward for years. “I would hope the governor would examine the options of tolling the bridges again as a means to finance the M.T.A.,” the man many credit with turning around the agency said.
The governor has been dodging questions about the M.T.A. since the campaign, and his continued silence seems to speak volumes. About congestion pricing, the then-attorney general said simply “I understand the concept,” as The Observer reported at the time. He told WNYC it was “moot.” As for the rest of the agency:
“I believe the governor should be accountable for the M.T.A. These authorities that are often nameless and faceless–I understand the theory behind an authority. I also understand the theory behind accountability,” Cuomo said. “In a situation like the M.T.A., I think that people have the right to know who’s in charge, who’s responsible and I think it should be the governor of the state.
It would seem Governor Cuomo has yet to take on that responsibility.