NEW YORK (PIX11) – Several leaders united on Monday to call on Gov. Kathy Hochul to pull her support of congestion pricing, arguing that the plan would hurt communities in the outer boroughs.
“People in my district, working class and middle class, will bear the brunt of this. Case closed. That’s why the governor is not talking about it so much before the election,” said New York City council member Bob Holden.
Conservative lawmakers rallied together outside City Hall, urging the governor to drop her support of congestion pricing, as the proposal to toll drivers in Manhattan below 60th Street moves forward.
“At a very least put a pause on it so New Yorkers can digest what — if any — benefits there are,” said New York City Council member Joe Borelli.
Opposition to congestion pricing has grown louder in recent weeks, from rideshare drivers to commuters.
During the rally at City Hall on Monday, leaders sounded off about the potential impact of congestion pricing on their outer borough communities, such as Staten Island.
“We already pay a toll to connect to the rest of the city,” Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis said.
In August, the MTA released a study on the potential environmental impact of congestion pricing. The report found that drivers hoping to avoid a toll that could be as high as $23 to enter Manhattan may instead add traffic and pollution to parts of Staten Island and to the Bronx.
“It is literally part of the plan to put more traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway,” said Borelli.
Hochul has previously said she is aware of concerns about the Cross Bronx Expressway. “We’re paying very much attention to the issues they’re raising and now that’s on our plates to address,” Hochul said in August.
The governor and transit advocates have argued that the money raised by congestion pricing would be a much-needed lifeline for the MTA and public transit. And by reducing traffic in the heart of Midtown, congestion pricing is also expected to help improve air quality in Manhattan.