CSI Albany: Congestion Pricing Postmortem


After death, it’s customary to conduct an autopsy. The mayor’s congestion pricing plan didn’t die on the field of battle with a vote count; it simply fizzed in a back room filled with Democratic legislators, so multiple causes of death may be in play.

The former parks commissioner, Henry Stern, at the New York Civic blog gives a detailed cause of death, and lays it out in plain numbers: congestion pricing failed to become law because there are more people wanting to drive to Manhattan than there are residents wanting to keep drivers out.

Stern thinks those feelings were no doubt fed by mistrust of the government, including broken MTA promises, and obvious political log-rolling in the city council. While a Democrat announced the end of pricing, some think the state GOP had a role to play in its downfall. Bloomberg’s political style is a potential culprit in the eyes of other observers.

Politicians across the state now have to deal with the inheritance. The Albany Project gives a scorecard of winners and losers for those following the horse race at home. Any way you cut it, the MTA has been left holding the bag, with the Senior Attorney for the Straphanger’s campaign saying that the vote boosts the agency’s deficit to $17.5 billion. (At least New Yorkers can be confident that their transit dollars will have a valued second life as an artificial reef.)