New York subway (Photo MTA)

USA: State Governor Kathy Hochul has directed New York MTA to ‘indefinitely pause’ the central Manhattan congestion pricing programme which had been scheduled for introduction on June 30.

According to the June 5 announcement by the governor’s office, the decision was made to ‘address New Yorkers on affordability and the cost of living and to avoid added burdens to working- and middle-class families.’

‘Delaying congestion pricing will hurt millions of transit riders across the region who rely on subways, buses and commuter rail every day’, the Regional Plan Association infrastructure advocacy body said in its statement responding to the announcement. ‘It will delay critical investments in the system, including faster service, new trains, station upgrades, bus electrification and the jobs they bring. It will condemn our communities to many more years of crushing traffic and polluted air.’

‘While I understand the programme’s intent to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and financially support our public transit system, I had concerns about the impact on New Yorkers residing in transit deserts with no viable transportation option into Manhattan other than by car’, State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. said.

New York MTA launched a period of public consultation in December last year for the Central Business District Tolling Programme. The peak hour charge for a private car would have been $15, and the toll was planned to be applied to road vehicles moving around Manhattan south of 60th Street; it would be the first such road pricing project to be deployed in the USA.

Renewal and enhancement of the New York Subway network had been identified as a prime recipient of the funds generated by the road charging programme. MTA had predicted its capital investment expenditure could be boosted by up to $1bn per annum under the scheme.