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Friday’s Headlines: Taking Its Toll Edition

Congestion pricing still dominated the news cycle as confusion reigned.

The Streetsblog Photoshop Desk|

The state Capitol is in ruins.

Congestion pricing still dominated the news cycle, mostly because Gov. Hochul's bizarre last-minute cancelation has created more confusion in Albany than understanding the question of why the city's train station is on the other side of the Hudson from Downtown (I know, right?).

All the outlets were on it, with the most important stories focusing on how Hochul simply has no plan to come up with the $1 billion that was about to start flowing to the MTA (NYDN, amNY, Gothamist, The City, and, of course, Streetsblog, with Dave Colon in Albany).

Other stories included:

  • And Hochul's lack of a plan had the Post already on alert about some other tax hike.
  • The Times did a standard "New Jersey loves it, people who care about transit don't" kinda thing.
  • The Paper of Record also questioned whether upstater Hochul really "gets" New York City.
  • Hell Gate looked at the broader mess beyond mere funding issues.
  • Crain's looked at whether the MTA board could overrule the governor.
  • It was dueling experts: Our own Dave Colon was interviewed on the home of the Mets, WCBS 880. He discussed the politics of it all. And I grabbed some air time on the same network, where I discussed why Gov. Hochul's capitulation to car drivers was so awful, and also added in details of my fact- and fish-finding visit to Stockholm last month.

Streetsblog's 2056-pixel-wide coverage included:

  • A look at city officials who are speaking out publicly about Gov. Hochul's betrayal.
  • An opinion piece from a former city official who said Hochul has now given Donald Trump the keys to the city's transit future.
  • At least a little good news: The City Council passed a home rule resolution demanding that Albany expand the red-light camera program.

In non-toll news:

  • A hit-and-run driver killed a man in The Bronx. (NYDN)
  • The Times's preview of the housing portion of the City of Yes zoning initiative only mentioned parking once, even though the end of parking mandates is a key component of the mayor's signature housing policy.
  • Meanwhile, the policy is in trouble in Northeastern Queens. (QNS)
  • More turmoil at Revel, the electric cab company, which used to be a moped-share company. (amNY)
  • Remember our recent quick-hit story about the increase in NYPD chases? Well, the Albany Times-Union did an entire package on the rise in police chases statewide. Sidebars included a heartfelt look at families torn apart, a database of chases (bookmark that!), and a video.

Finally, we leave you with the words of Streetsblog reader (and car owner!) Ben Lebovitz, who penned this letter to Gov. Hochul:

Dear Governor Hochul,

I live in the East Village with my wife and 6 year old daughter. We own a car because my wife must drive to work in Clifton, NJ where the transit options are dismal. Taking the subway to a bus would turn her half hour drive into about 75 minutes. Congestion pricing as planned would have cost my family about $200 a month that we could not avoid with any practicality. This would have been a huge burden on a middle class family like ours.

So I want to say that I absolutely hate what you did in rolling back this plan. Let me repeat, I hate that you have made this decision to not implement this plan.

I don't need to tell you the benefits of congestion pricing that are seen in London, Singapore, Stockholm, etc etc. I know you know this because of how you were speaking about it until just two weeks ago. But I do want you to focus on my 6 year old daughter who I was so excited to bring up in a city with traffic patterns that looked like London … about as many bikes as cars, a world class transit system, way less pollution, way less traffic violence. For our family in particular it would mean that mom would be home more as her 30 minute commute through the Holland tunnel, then across the island, and then looking for a parking spot is often turned into 60 minutes on gridlock alert days.

Is $200 a month a lot of money for my family? Sure. Would it be worth it? Absolutely.

Ben Lebovitz

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