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NY MTA Will Shrink Infrastructure Program After Congestion Pricing Pause – BNN Bloomberg



(Bloomberg) — New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be forced to cut its capital budget after Governor Kathy Hochul paused the implementation of a congestion pricing program that would have brought in $1 billion a year for projects. 

The largest transit agency in the US will undergo an intensive review to “reprioritize and shrink the current capital program,” said MTA Chief Executive Officer Janno Lieber in a press conference on Monday. The current capital budget which runs from 2020 to 2024 totals $51.5 billion.

In a surprise decision last week, Hochul indefinitely paused a first-of-its-kind initiative set to begin June 30 that would have charged most motorists $15 to drive into Manhattan’s central business district. The tolling plan aimed to reduce traffic and raise new revenue for the MTA’s infrastructure needs.

Hochul’s decision to halt congestion pricing creates a $15 billion hole in the MTA’s multi-year capital budget. Without the congestion pricing revenue or another funding source, MTA officials must reconfigure its capital spending plan and focus on work to keep the system running, Kevin Willens, the agency’s chief financial officer, and Paige Graves, its general counsel, said in a joint statement on Friday.

Lieber said the agency cannot award construction contracts without dedicated funding in play. He also said that projects aimed at keeping the system safe and in a state of good repair will be prioritized. The majority of the capital program is geared at keeping the system running effectively. 

MTA staff will present a report at a planned board meeting on June 26. Former MTA CEO Thomas Prendergast will advise on the effort. 

“We have got a tall order and we’re behind the eight-ball right now,” Lieber said. “That’s why we’re taking these very serious steps to carve up the capital program and make sure we don’t let the system fall into disrepair.” 

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