Statement on Congestion Pricing Pause

Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright issued the following statement:

We can all agree on the goals of the congestion pricing enacting legislation. There is a critical need to reduce congestion, decrease pollution, and fund vital capital projects. At the same time, details matter. Since Traffic Mobility Review Board deliberations began, I have strongly urged the adoption of common-sense discounts, exemptions, and carve-outs for populations that would be unduly burdened by a regressive $15 congestion pricing fee.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced that congestion pricing as authorized by the budget five years ago is paused, citing the undue burden of additional costs on hardworking New Yorkers. With inflation and other rising financial pressures, New Yorkers cannot face another rising cost.

Residents who have no option but to use taxis and for-hire vehicles already face a surcharge for every ride south of 96 Street. The fee would only be compounded by an additional fee for rides within the congestion zone in my district. For delivery trucks, the toll might be seen by some as the cost of doing business-- but for Manhattan residents, it would have been a detrimental fee for their everyday routine.

As the plan was moving forward, many significant questions remained unanswered. Would the TBTA consider exemptions for public sector employees, individuals with medical appointments, and people with disabilities and serious medical conditions who have always been ignored? My fellow Manhattan elected officials and I expressed our deep concerns in a letter to the Governor. I supported Community Board 8’s resolution urging for Manhattan representation on the TMRB. Taxation without representation? Yet again?

We will keep fighting for accountability from the MTA, an expanded Second Avenue Subway, better bus and subway service, improved access-a-ride service, and for ADA mandated accessibility at subway stations through other means.

Governor Hochul’s full statement can be viewed here: v=zrTboCirDGM