What’s at stake for the environment in Hochul’s decision to end congestion pricing

The MTA says losing the revenue from congestion pricing could create a domino effect affecting a range of climate resilience projects, such as fortifying the subway system against flooding and extreme heat.

Marc A. Hermann / MTA

A flooded subway station in Brooklyn after heavy rains on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023.

New Yorkers who have seen the subway severely flooded on their way home from a storm may wonder how Gov. Kathy Hochul decided that break “indefinitely”. Congestion pricing will affect plans to protect the transit system from climate change.

The program sought to levy a toll on drivers entering Manhattan south of 60th Street, which would raise 15 billion dollars for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to fund critical improvements, from buying new subway cars to modernizing century-old subway lines.

By pausing the plan, Hochul quoted concerns about the burden that paying $15 to enter Manhattan would cause many residents.

But losing that revenue will directly affect the transit system’s ability to withstand the catastrophic effects of global warming such as flooding and extreme heat, warns Andrew Darrell, New York regional director at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

“Any delay in investment that prevents the (transit) system from operating at its best will mean that the system will not perform as well during a severe weather crisis,” Darrell said.

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