Lack of State Support Prompts MTA Board Vote to Pause Congestion Pricing Program

News reports on Wednesday, June 26th delivered the announced decisions by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board to “indefinitely pause the implementation of congestion pricing tolls” that were slated to launch on June 30th. The 10-1 vote formalized “an eleventh-hour postponement” of the program by Governor Hochul on June 5th; as well as firmly shutting the door on the “MTA’s board possibly attempting to advance congestion pricing against Hochul’s wishes,” since the reality exists that without the New York State Department of Transportation sign-off, the MTA cannot start implementing congestion pricing. As a result of the postponement and lack of a replacement to the anticipated toll revenue, the MTA must defer $16.5 billion worth of construction projects, including the extension of the Second Avenue Subway to 125th Street in Harlem, “sending the region’s contractors into a panic” as the MTA continues to issue stop-work orders. “Carlo Scissura, president and chief executive of the New York Building Congress described the situation as “a frightening moment” for the region’s contractors, engineers and architect,” many of which had increased staff in anticipation of the contracts awarded, but now may have little choice but to lay off staff. MTA officials once again reiterated that only essential maintenance and upgrades to keep the system functioning will be prioritized.