Deputy Mayor Goldsmith Putting Congestion Pricing on the Agenda
This morning, Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith threw his support behind congestion pricing and hinted that he may have found a way to get the issue on Mayor Bloomberg’s third-term agenda. Though Goldsmith would not say what his strategy might be, he did mention that the issue was particularly relevant in light of the MTA’s current budget troubles. A Drum Major Institute report earlier this year concluded that city and state leaders must act quickly to reintroduce the idea of congestion pricing in order to stave off devastating service cuts and fare increases.
The MTA is still facing a budget deficit of approximately $400 million, even after drastic service cuts instituted in June. This has led to speculation of even more service cuts or fare increases over the 7.5 percent increase scheduled for 2011. Bloomberg had already warned that unless a new source of revenue is found, “the MTA is either going to have to raise rates dramatically or cut back service dramatically -- or, what's more likely, some combination of the two.”
The revenue from congestion pricing would allow the MTA to reduce its long-term reliance on costly borrowing and to create a permanent revenue source for long-term maintenance, repair, and expansion of the mass transit system, the backbone of the regional economy.