Governor Cuomo is tip-toeing around the possibility that hundreds of thousands of motorists could be charged real money for driving in Manhattan.
Ironically, the governor’s caution surrounds recommendations of a commission that he created to find a way to increase funding for buses and subways while also reducing the borough’s insane gridlock.
With a congestion pricing fee at its center, the commission’s conclusions made earlier this month are remarkably similar to those in a plan supported by Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council that died in the State Assembly ten years ago.
But unless the governor becomes a cheerleader for his own commission, this plan could suffer a similar fate in Albany.
Does the governor endorse the report’s idea to charge drivers $11.52 for driving in Manhattan below 60th Street? Or does he prefer another suggestion of the commission’s – levying fees that would increase or decrease depending on the time of day?
Right now, it seems that Cuomo is more on board with charging cabs a surcharge of up to $5 to drive into the zone – a proposal that’s less controversial during an election year.
Maybe Cuomo’s behavior shouldn’t be that surprising given that this is the same governor who waited four years to take a position on fracking – a little more than a month after he was safely re-elected in 2014.
While the fees on most drivers wouldn’t go into effect until 2020, the issue could still become a major rallying cry for some city and suburban lawmakers – all of whom are up for re-election this fall.
The governor needs to decide whether he agrees with the concept of all motorists paying to drive in Manhattan or else publicly oppose the findings of his hand-picked commission.
Cuomo loves tinkering with cars – but will he support tolling them?