Candidate for city Comptroller, David Weprin, is continuing long-standing opposition to the state’s congestion pricing plan which would create a dedicated revenue stream for the MTA alongside other members of the state Assembly.
Weprin issued a statement on Thursday calling for the Cuomo administration to delay the plan for two years after the pandemic comes to an official end as a means of relieving a financial burden on a small percentage of motorists traveling into Manhattan.
“One year ago, New Yorkers became patient zero in a global pandemic that spurred job losses and business closures,” Weprin said. “Now, we are being asked to incur an even greater financial burden while the virus is still not completely under control. Until we completely recover from COVID-19 and its aftermath, I do not believe this is the time to tax small business owners and outer borough residents driving into Manhattan. I am calling on the governor and the mayor to delay congestion pricing for two years and urge all New Yorkers to stand behind me in fighting for what makes the most sense.”
This call comes after the federal government under President Donald Trump held congestion pricing back by not providing the MTA with criteria needed in an environmental review and days after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg offered the information needed for the plan to move forward.
“Expecting working men and women from boroughs outside of Manhattan to pay for the city’s financial troubles is not only irresponsible, it’s plain wrong,” said Assemblymember William Colton. “The idea that congestion pricing should begin now – during a still-raging pandemic is a poorly timed, poorly executed effort to fix a problem without thinking about all the effects it will have on New York City’s families and I urge the Governor to rethink the timing.”
Assembly members Erik Dilan and Jennifer Rajkumar joined in the chorus as well.
Weprin’s opposition to congestion pricing was a point of friction between his allies and members of Transport Workers Union Local 100 who swarmed a press conference at Tramway Plaza in March 2019.
A study released over the summer by Cornell University claimed that a $20 toll could reduce traffic in Manhattan by up to 40%, and only 5.7% of drivers in northeast Queens assembly district neighboring that which is currently represented by Weprin would be significantly impacted by the toll.