We have long known that Governor Andrew Cuomo is a bit of a gearhead—so much so it appears he has no interest in putting his considerable political capital behind the latest efforts to revive congestion pricing, being led by former transportation commissioner Sam Schwartz. WNYC asked Governor Cuomo about the Schwartz plan, first championed by Times scribe Bill Keller. Governor Cuomo plead ignorance.
Q: Have you seen Sam Schwartz’s revised congestion pricing plan? Do you support it?
A: I have not seen it. We’ve talked about congestion pricing for many years. We’ve tried to pass it in the past. It hasn’t passed. I don’t know that anything has happened to change that dynamic. I just don’t know if you have the political support to pass it.
As WNYC points, and The Observer previously reported, the governor has never been big on congestion pricing, even as advocates have hoped otherwise in the intervening years.
A good explanation for his indifference might be the fact that, as Capital New York points out, the governor has not been on a subway since before he took office. “Look, our subway service, our bus service is a tremendous asset for this city and the state,” the governor said at an event earlier today promoting safer driving. “It works extraordinarily well. It’s a great investment. It’s one that we want to continue and grow. We can always make it safer. We can always make it faster. We can always make it cleaner. But it’s a great service.”
The question is, how will he invest? Hopefully not solely through debt.
Meanwhile, his new appointee to the MTA board and predecessor David Paterson said that while he does not support Borough President Scott Stringer’s call for a reinstatement of the commuter tax, he does think congestion pricing could succeed. Of congestion pricing, Governor Paterson told Capital that it “deserves another hearing.”