Protest Erupts at Hochul’s Office Against the Delay of Congestion Pricing


By Jean Brannum |

In a shocking twist of events, Governor Kathy Hochul put an indefinite pause on congestion pricing and supporters of the plan are not taking the news quietly. 

Rider’s Alliance, a group for congestion pricing, gathered outside the governor’s office on June 5 to show their anger towards Hochul’s change of plans. Protesters waved signs calling on Hochul to stop waiting to implement the program. 

“Governor Hochul is turning her back on the promise she made to riders and  New Yorkers,” said Rider’s Alliance Executive Director Betsy Plum.

The Gov, who has pushed to implement a $15 toll for people commuting to the city business district, was supposed to be implemented on June 30. The toll was meant to persuade commuters to take public transportation to improve air quality and decrease gridlock in Manhattan. In addition, the money from toll payers would provide funding for improvements to the subway and commuter rail systems. 

However, critics have said congestion pricing would be a burden to New Yorkers who do not live near public transportation and cause more pollution in the outer boroughs. 

Protestors against the Governors decision gathered outside her New York City office holding up signs calling for congestion pricing. Credit: Jean Brannum

“Let’s be real: a $15 charge may not mean a lot to someone who has the means, but it can break the budget of a working- or middle-class household,” Hochul said in her announcement. “And given these financial pressures, I cannot add another burden to working- and middle-class New Yorkers – or create another obstacle to continued recovery.”

There were also opposers of congestion pricing at the event. Jack Nierenberg from Passengers United, a group against congestion pricing, said that while he was shocked, he believes it is the right decision.

“I’m glad to see the governor is now finally taking the action that she should have taken a while ago,” Nierenberg said. 

Plum mentioned that New York State is required to mitigate the potential air quality issues that would worsen in the South Bronx. An MTA environmental report showed that air quality in the area would worsen due to westbound traffic circumventing Manhattan through the Bronx. 

Two men disrupted the conference to protest congestion pricing. Their yelling was promptly drowned out with chants from protesters. The police outside the building eventually escorted them away from the crown. The counter-protesters continued to make noise to disrupt the rally. 

It is not clear what Hochul’s next steps are, but in her speech, she said she was committed to further improvements to the subway and rail systems. 


2 Replies to “Protest Erupts at Hochul’s Office Against the Delay of Congestion Pricing”

  1. Dear Governor Hochul

    Shame on you for caving to suburban political pressure!

    Please implement congestion pricing as soon as possible.

    Nancy Wolf

  2. OMG…common sense prevails…and in NYC, no less!!! London, u know, is rated the worst commuter-trafficked city in the entire world — with 20-years already (!!!) of congestion pricing. This was another MTA theft to bandage its incompetence of broken arms & legs. The patient does not need an MRI…but physical & mind therapy…PJS

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