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Rockland County Elected Officials Respond to Potential Delay of Congestion Pricing in New York City

Statement from County Executive Ed Day

“The State of New York allowing the Congestion Pricing tax to go into effect is an insult to families who have been struggling with record-breaking inflation, high gas prices, and outrageous interest rates for close to two years.

The City of New York is already unaffordable, and to make it even more so now is utterly ridiculous.

There’s no way congestion is worse now than before the pandemic; since then, the population in New York City is down 6%, only 60% of the workforce is working 5 days a week (many are hybrid or fully remote), and Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) own analysis found most of the vehicles in the Central Business District are for-hire vehicles.

Rockland’s approximately 4,000 residents who drive into the CBD – many of whom are first responders – are forced to do so because there is no one-seat-ride, despite our more than $40 million annual value gap between what we pay and what we receive from the MTA. That is not their fault; it is the MTA’s. Don’t punish residents for the MTA’s inability to manage its budget.

It is for all those reasons we have fought this ridiculous tax from day one and applaud fellow lawmakers, including those in New Jersey, Long Island, and Staten Island, who are in that fight as well.

Governor Kathy Hochul should not just pause this plan but eliminate it entirely. If not, we will continue our legal fight, alongside my colleagues in government, on behalf of the families we serve who do not deserve another unnecessary tax.”

Statement From Rockland County Legislators Paul Cleary, Beth J. Davidson, Thomas F. Diviny, Toney L. Earl, Joel Friedman, Lon M. Hofstein, Jay Hood Jr., Douglas J. Jobson, Will J. Kennelly, Jesse M. Malowitz, Aney Paul, Raymond W. Sheridan, Philip Soskin, Dana G. Stilley, Aron B. Wieder, Alden H. Wolfe, and Itamar J. Yeger

New City, NY (June 5, 2024) – Rockland County Legislators urge Gov. Kathy Hochul to not only pause but outright kill the congestion pricing plan that would charge commuters $15 per day to travel below 60th Street in Manhattan.

Congestion pricing adds up to yet another tax on Rockland commuters and is too burdensome on hardworking families. We commend Gov. Hochul for indefinitely suspending the plan but urge her to shut down the effort completely.

Rockland businesses – which include not-for-profits, as well as for-profit businesses – already pay the MTA payroll tax. Rockland experiences a $40 million annual value gap between how much is paid into the MTA via taxes and other revenue versus the services provided.

Rockland still has no one-seat train ride into Manhattan and still has no significant MTA system improvements in Rockland. The overwhelming majority of revenue to be collected by the new congestion pricing plan would only cover the costs of operating the NYC Transit bus and subway system.

Nor would the plan only impact commuters, including the 4,000 daily Rockland commuters, who travel below 60th Street. Anyone headed to a Broadway show, Madison Square Garden, or other destination below 60th Street before 9 p.m. at night or on weekends would also have to pay.

By suspending this policy, commuters can get to work without the burden of the added toll. Going forward, the transit options of all commuters need to be considered, not just the taxes they can be charged without any significant service options in return.

Congressman Lawler Shared on X:

@GovKathyHochul is a complete fraud. This is an election year gimmick designed to assuage swing voters. It won’t work. If you are serious about it, then demand the legislature repeal congestion pricing immediately before they leave Albany and commit to ending it for good.

Rather than making a cynical election-year ploy to help ⁦@RepJeffries and Dems in swing seats⁩, ⁦@GovKathyHochul⁩ should make it clear this was a disaster from the start and put an end to it immediately.

Congestion Pricing is nothing more than a money grab — hence her proposed tax on small businesses. New Yorkers see this for what it is. Congestion Pricing was never about reducing congestion; it was about filling the ⁦@MTA’s coffers. The worst run authority in America.

Don’t delay it because of politics. Kill it because it’s bad policy.

Senator Bill Weber

“I was proud to be a vocal opponent of congestion pricing and cosponsor the Senate legislation to stop it and audit the failed MTA. Yesterday’s decision by the governor to indefinitely delay congestion pricing is a victory, even though she did it for the wrong reasons. Instead of making a political decision to protect vulnerable incumbents from this deeply unpopular policy, she should have canceled it because it was a horrible idea pitched as a way to protect our environment and reduce congestion while all it really would be is just another bailout for the MTA. We have come to expect dishonesty in proposing and canceling policy here in this state. Despite today’s victory, New Yorkers deserve better,” said Senator Bill Weber.

Former NYS Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick

“I’ve been saying for years that congestion pricing is a bad deal for Rockland County residents who lack any good options to get to Manhattan via mass transit, and in the Senate I introduced legislation to exempt Rockland from the charge. Now, I’m glad that Governor Hochul has realized that adding an additional regressive tax for people to get to work in Manhattan is the wrong approach. We can fund needed improvements in transit without raising costs for middle-class families.”

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