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Tuesday’s Headlines: Break the Law Edition

The Times floats a possible congestion pricing compromise, but the old plan is still the law. Plus more news.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons|

The fate of congestion pricing may be in Albany’s hands.

Congestion pricing to raise $1 billion annually is the law of the land, but what if it... wasn't?

That's the question some legislators in Albany are asking after Gov. Hochul abandoned the MTA's long-awaited plans to launch the tolls on June 30, the New York Times reported on Monday.

"I’ve personally urged the governor to mend it, not end it," State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal told the paper. "I think there could be an appetite among my colleagues to adjust the toll and other features of congestion pricing while approving additional revenue to make up the shortfall to the MTA, but only if the program is allowed to proceed."

Hochul has yet to put forward an alternative for funding the MTA amenable to state legislators. Hoylman-Sigal's use of the phrase "potential appetite" hints at the uphill battle she faces: Legislators already passed congestion pricing in 2019; any replacement will have to earn their support. If not, the 2019 law is still on the books.

As of last month, there remained a strong contingent of state senators committed to the tolls. Those pols are unlikely to roll over for a funding plan that doesn't include congestion reduction. They may be further deterred from changing the law if doing so doesn't sufficiently reduce congestion, or requires re-doing the Environment Assessment the MTA spent two years and $97 million getting to the finish line of federal approval.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, offered some new background on Hochul's decision-making on Sunday — including that the governor literally went table-to-table at the Comfort Diner asking for opinions on the tolls. The story by Jimmy Vielkind and Joseph De Avila also revealed that 100 congestion pricing call center jobs set to start with the tolls have been put "on hold."

Heckuva job, Kathy.

In other news:

  • Congestion pricing somehow didn't make it into this Gothamist story about slow ambulance response times, but the FDNY blaming bike lanes and lower speed limits did.
  • Imitation is the highest form of flattery. (NY Times)
  • The Queens Daily Eagle checked in on the rocky prospects for Hochul's beloved "Interborough Express" after her congestion pricing betrayal.
  • Those damned bike lanes. (Daily News)
  • The Times' Street Wars column took a trip to the "NO BIKE LANES" section of Eastern Queens. Check out Streetsblog's coverage from last month.
  • Misleading construction signage that led pedestrian on highway blamed for fatal FDR Drive hit-and-run. (Daily News)
  • MTA to run Saturday schedule on Fourth of July. (Patch)
  • Partial G train shutdown greets frustrated straphangers. (Gothamist)

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