The road to a fiscally sound MTA runs through soon-to-be Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s desk, according to New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson,
Johnson on Friday implored Buttigieg to “immediately authorize” the MTA’s plans to toll downtown Manhattan car trips, which would raise $1 billion per year for the cash-averse transit agency.
“Congestion pricing has the capacity to generate significant urgently-needed revenue that will help prevent our public transit system from going down a death spiral of service cuts and fare hikes,” Johnson wrote in a letter to President Biden’s transportation nominee.
The push to enact the tolls comes after the Trump administration declined for more than two years to give the MTA a clear answer on what type of environmental review would be required to institute the new fees.
Originally slated to launch this month, the program now may not get off the ground until 2023, according to transit officials — even if Buttigieg gives the MTA the go-ahead on his first day in office.
“With the positive environmental impacts that we can expect from reductions in
traffic and the increased use of public transit due to congestion pricing, I believe
an expedited environmental review is appropriate,” Johnson told Buttigieg.
“I hope that you will consider taking swift action to speed the implementation of this common-sense policy to save our subways, reduce our City’s congestion and emissions, and support New York City’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”
The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor sailed through his initial Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, winning high praise from Republicans and Democrats alike.
Polly Trottenberg, who helped craft the congestion pricing program as New York City’s transportation commissioner, has been appointed to be his deputy.