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To the editor:

In announcing an indefinite pause on congestion pricing, Governor Hochul claimed the toll plan would undermine the ability of Manhattan to recover economically from the pandemic, and be “another burden” for less privileged New Yorkers. 

In March, however, Hochul said, New York had made a “full economic recovery from the pandemic.” Furthermore, fewer than 5 percent of poor New Yorkers living outside Manhattan, drive there to work, and of 1.5 million people who work in the congested pricing area below 60th Street, only 1 percent earn less than $50,000 and drive to work.

Hochul’s decision will result in an enormous cost. She wasted four years of study before congestion pricing got federal approval, hundreds of public forums and 100,000 public comments submitted. The MTA has already spent $550 million dollars building the necessary infrastructure for the toll plan.

Neither traffic congestion in Manhattan’s central business district nor pollution will be reduced. Many essential projects will now not go forward. A 2018 study by the Partnership for New York City found that annually, delay-costs in commuter time and work-related travel throughout the Metro area amounted to $9.2 billion. 

Mayor Adams’ contribution was to avoid the subject, and then give Hochul his unconditional support. “We have to get it right,” he said, with no further explanation.

Langston Hughes wrote, “We build our temples for tomorrow.” Unfortunately, this is not the case for mass transit given politicians such as Hochul and Adams.

Howard Elterman


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