What’s at Stake for the Environment in Hochul’s Decision to Halt Congestion Pricing

The MTA says losing the revenue generated from congestion pricing could create a domino effect that impacts a series of climate resiliency projects, like fortifying the subway system from flooding and extreme heat. 

Subway flooding

Marc A. Hermann / MTA

A flooded Brooklyn subway station following heavy rains on Friday, Sep 29, 2023.

New Yorkers who’ve seen the subway seriously flood on their way home after a storm might be wondering how Gov. Kathy Hochul’s decision to “indefinitely” pause congestion pricing will affect plans to protect the transit system from climate change.

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

In pausing the plan, Hochul cited concerns over the burden that paying $15 to enter Manhattan would cause many residents.

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

“Any delay in investments that keep the [transit] system from operating at its best will mean that the system won’t operate as well during a severe weather crisis,” Darrell said.

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