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Congestion Pricing

Dan Quart: New Taxi Fees Won’t Do Much “Without a Full Congestion Pricing Plan”

Photo: NYS Assembly

Count Assembly Member Dan Quart among the state legislators who aren't satisfied with the taxi and for-hire vehicle fees enacted in Albany's new budget.

Quart, a representative of Manhattan's East Side who co-sponsored the Move New York bill in 2016, told Streetsblog last month that he wanted to see "actual congestion pricing" that charged "anyone driving into the Central Business District."

The Albany budget only included fees on taxi and Uber trips, which will barely make a dent in traffic while imposing two-thirds of the costs on Manhattanites, according to analyst Charles Komanoff.

That's not good enough for Quart, who released a statement on the budget condemning the failure to pass a real congestion pricing plan.

"A fee on for-hire cars will fall disproportionately on Manhattanites and will do little to fix gridlock in NYC so he is not supportive of these types of fees without a full congestion pricing plan," O'Hanlon said.

After Governor Cuomo called the new surcharges "a major, major achievement," Streetsblog has been contacting Manhattan representatives to get their take on the taxi fees and the absence of congestion pricing in the state budget. Here’s what Assembly Member Deborah Glick and State Senator Brian Kavanagh told us.

Quart did vote for the final budget that included the surcharges, along with every other Assembly Democrat, despite his misgivings about the lack of a cordon toll. "Unfortunately it's an overall yes or no vote so specifically voting against the surcharge isn't an option," O'Hanlon said. "If it was a standalone bill he certainly would've voted no."

Given the way Albany operates, with few open hearings, closed-door negotiations, and a few men in a room hashing out what gets in the budget, it's never easy to tell how much leverage rank-and-file legislators have or how they wield it.

In light of the position statements legislators like Quart have given to outlets including Streetsblog and the Daily News, however, it seems like the political path to pass congestion pricing -- at least in the Assembly -- was not the impossible battle Governor Cuomo made it out to be.

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