Corey Johnson Unequivocally Backs Congestion Pricing, Further Isolating de Blasio

“We need to disincentivize cars from coming into the city,” Johnson said on WNYC today.

Corey Johnson on WNYC today. Photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council via Flickr
Corey Johnson on WNYC today. Photo: William Alatriste/New York City Council via Flickr

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson gave a full-throated endorsement to congestion pricing today, giving Governor Cuomo more political leeway to push for a comprehensive plan to reduce traffic and boost transit funding. Johnson’s position further isolates Mayor de Blasio, who continues to lie and dissemble to support his contention that congestion pricing would have a regressive effect.

Fielding calls on Brian Lehrer earlier today, Johnson was asked what he’d like to see done about Midtown gridlock.

“I support congestion pricing,” said Johnson. “We need to disincentivize cars from coming into the city. We need to put money into mass transit, rapid bus service. Move NY has a plan on lessening the tolls on the outer borough crossings and tolling the East River bridges. There’s a proposal to put a surcharge on for-hire vehicles like Uber and Lyft… We need to tackle this issue. Other global cities like London have been able to do this.”

Johnson said he also supports de Blasio’s millionaires tax proposal, which would generate transit funding but won’t do anything to reduce the gridlock that slows bus trips and makes getting around in the Manhattan core a generally miserable experience.

With Johnson on board with Move NY, de Blasio is looking like more of an outlier among the major political players in the region.

Cuomo says he’s in favor of road pricing, though what he’ll commit to is still very much up in the air. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has also signaled a willingness to come to the table.

There is one notable faction joining de Blasio in his hostility to congestion pricing: the suburban Republicans who currently control the majority in the State Senate. On this issue, New York’s purportedly progressive mayor is aligned with New York’s Trump country.

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Photo: Crain's New York

Bucking de Blasio, Speaker Candidates Support Congestion Pricing

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Mayor de Blasio is pulling out all the stops to frame congestion pricing as a "regressive tax," even though low-income New Yorkers stand to gain enormously. Not a single contender for council speaker is on the same page as the mayor. In a debate hosted by Crain's this morning, they all signaled support for congestion pricing, with a few caveats.