Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t think there’s any new support for a New York City congestion pricing plan rolled out this week–and he isn’t ready to use his clout to back the pricing scheme, anyway.
The plan, backed by former City Traffic Commissioner Sam Schwartz, would create tolls on four East River bridges and on traffic traveling south of 60th Street in Manhattan, in turn lowering tolls on other outer borough bridges. Mr. Schwartz is optimistic city and state lawmakers will approve this plan, unlike a similar failed scheme proposed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Mr. Cuomo wasn’t so optimistic today.
“It’s not, ‘Can I support it?’ Will the people support it? Can you get it done? Can you get a congestion plan passed and we’ve gone through this a couple of times and it was an overwhelming ‘no’ and I haven’t seen anything happen that would change my opinion,” Mr. Cuomo told the Observer at an unrelated event in Brooklyn.
“I think you can argue the merits of the congestion pricing plan. But you can argue the merits of a lot of plans. The question then also becomes, ‘Can you get it enacted? Will people support it?’ And I don’t believe anything has changed to increase the potential for popular support,” the governor added.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, an opponent of congestion pricing when he was a city councilman, offered kinder words for the proposal, but stopped short of full support, telling reporters it had to be “taken seriously.”
“What I think we have to do is, the city and state together, figure out a long-term vision for the MTA. And, you know, we should look at a range of options,” the mayor said.
Mr. Cuomo is correct, if history is a guide: a governor’s backing is not enough to push such a proposal through the state legislature. Then-Gov Eliot Spitzer endorsed Mr. Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan, but the Assembly never brought it up for a vote.
The new Assembly speaker, Carl Heastie, did not voice support for the new pricing plan.
Spokespersons for Mr. Cuomo had previously refused to comment on Mr. Schwartz’s proposal.