NY lawmakers head home without congestion pricing deal

New York lawmakers are ending the legislative session without an agreement to bail out the MTA after Governor Kathy Hochul paused congestion pricing. 

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said that lawmakers will return home without coming up with a new MTA funding program to replace congestion pricing.

This was set to be the last week of the session and lawmakers were not set to return to Albany until 2025. 

With congestion pricing on indefinite pause, the MTA is facing a $15B budget shortfall with few ideas about how the agency can find the money to make necessary fixes and upgrades to the city's subway system.

In a statement, the MTA said that they "cannot act until the Central Business District Tolling Program is approved by New York State, New York City and the federal government - and with the announcement of the pause, we no longer have the state's consent."

 Hochul's decision to pause congestion pricing has frustrated several Democrats, with a handful of Democratic state lawmakers releasing a statement saying that Hochul asking for lawmakers to come up with $15B in the last 48 hours of the fiscal year was "ridiculous."

Stewart-Cousins also said that many state senate Democrats were very opposed to an increased tax on New York City businesses that Hochul was trying to push last minute.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said that Assembly Democrats also did not want a new tax on businesses, adding that Hochul had recently warned him she was concerned people were not warming up to congestion pricing.

It is unclear if lawmakers will return for a summer special session, but Stewart-Cousins said that at this point, they have no plans to repeal congestion pricing.