Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Congestion Pricing

Opinion: Gov. Hochul’s ‘Pause’ Betrays A Great Leader … And His Legacy of Fiscal Prudence

Dick Ravitch fought for sensible fiscal policy to ensure the MTA was on strong financial footing. Gov. Hochul forgot his lessons.

Dick Ravitch’s legacy has been betrayed by Gov. Hochul, says our opinion writer.

Grace Rauh, the executive director of the 5BORO Institute, a public policy think-tank co-founded by former MTA Chairman Dick Ravitch, gave the following testimony at the MTA Board meeting on Wednesday. We re-print it because it makes a clear point that has been lost in the debate over congestion pricing.

As we grapple with the consequences of Gov. Hochul’s decision to indefinitely pause congestion pricing, I keep thinking about Dick Ravitch, the former MTA chairman, and what he would have done to meet this moment.

As everyone in this room knows, Mr. Ravitch was a civic giant who fought for sensible fiscal policy to ensure the MTA was on strong financial footing. 

Mr. Ravitch supported congestion pricing, but even more broadly, he supported and fought for reforms to define the fiduciary responsibilities of public authorities like the MTA – reforms like the 2010 Public Authorities Reform Act.

Mr. Ravitch appeared before the MTA board in 2014 to reflect on that law. He said: “That law made it very clear that you as members of the board of a public authority have as your fiduciary responsibility an obligation to the mission of this authority and to the authority itself.”

He was urging the MTA board to reject a program that would voluntarily reduce the MTA’s revenue by $7 million annually by providing commuters over the Verrazzano Bridge with a 50-cent rebate on the toll. The rebate appeared to be an election-year gambit to help Democrats in nearby House races. In the end, it didn’t help.

We can’t know what Mr. Ravitch would say if he were with us today, but his 2014 testimony to the MTA rings true at this moment.

I quote: “I feel strongly enough about this — remembering all the battles that I fought to eke out every possible penny of revenue for this authority — to urge you to think very hard before you vote to voluntarily reduce the revenues to the MTA. For not just the reasons of your fiduciary responsibility but because of plain, simple common sense.”

On behalf of the 5BORO Institute, I urge you all to do everything in your power to launch congestion pricing.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Disabled NYer’s are Victims of Gov. Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause

So many New Yorkers can’t use the closest subway station to their homes because they don't have an elevator. And Gov. Hochul just halted funding for 23 new lifts.

July 23, 2024

DOT Will Fast-Track Private Sidewalk E-Bike Charging Stations

The mayor announced a new sidewalk e-bike charging station initiative, along with progress on the e-bike battery swap program and more money to FDNY for educational outreach.

July 23, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: LEGO Finally Gets It Edition

Streetsblog has had our issues with LEGO over the years, but we're willing to forgive. Plus other news.

July 23, 2024

Speeding Fuels Pedestrian Death Crisis As Council Stalls ‘Sammy’s Law’ Changes

Pedestrian fatalities were up 27 percent in the first six months of the year compared to 2023.

July 23, 2024

Bike Rack Saves Pedestrians in Crash on Busy Brooklyn Street

The white Hyundai involved in the crash has been nabbed 10 times by city speed- and red-light cameras since Oct. 10, 2023, city records show.

July 22, 2024
See all posts