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Manhattan’s Central Business District Unites To Condemn Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Surrender

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They're in the zone and they're zoned in.

Manhattan community boards representing all of the neighborhoods south of 60th Street are banding together to demand that Gov. Hochul undo her pause of congestion pricing.

In the civic equivalent of the Avengers fighting off Loki, members of Manhattan Community Boards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 reached out among each other in hopes of speaking to the gridlock governor with one unified voice in support of the toll. Members of each board decided the best course of action was to draft a letter and have it be signed by every board inside the Central Business District expressing their disappointment and anger with the governor's shock decision.

Manhattan community boards in the CBD.

The letter points out that Hochul's sudden turnaround has left millions of dollars in transit improvements in the lurch, not to mention benefits to the residents and visitors to Midtown and Lower Manhattan. It demands that she allow the program — which is state law — to go forward on June 30.

"[A]fter years of planning, hundreds of millions in investments, and commitments made to the vast majority of New Yorkers, commuters, and visitors who will benefit from this program, the decision to indefinitely suspend the program is unconscionable, and must be immediately reversed," the letter reads.

A resolution supporting the letter passed the full board of CB5 and 6 this week, as well as the Transportation, Public Safety, Sanitation & Environment Committee at CB3 ahead of the full board meeting on June 25.

Both the Executive Committee of CB2 and the Transportation Planing Committee for CB4 will vote on the letter on June 18,

One organizer said that feelings across the boards were that the gubernatorial diktat was both bad policy and bad governance.

"People felt that the way that this decision came down last week was not democratic, not systematic, not scientific and not technocratic," sad Tristan Haas, chair of the Transportation and Environment Committee of CB5 in Midtown.

Community boards across the city have sometimes taken the same position on citywide issues, such as the growing chorus of boards who have endorsed universal daylighting. But six boards coming in this fashion is not common.

"There have been on occasion some some issues that over time one board expresses support, then another," said Haas. "But having this cross-board collaboration doesn't happen too often, it's very rare. It's hard enough to get diverse views on a single community board to come together on a position that reflects the consensus of that board, so extending that to six community boards is definitely much harder. And I think it really speaks to what a chord like this recent decision has struck in undermining people's faith the power and the ability of our government to do big things effectively."

Gov. Hochul's office declined to comment.

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