Albany lawmakers considering last-minute bailout for lost congestion toll revenue

Albany lawmakers are squaring up to approve a last-minute backroom measure to plug the financial hole in the MTA’s capital plan created by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s decision to scrap the controversial congestion pricing toll earlier this week.

State lawmakers in both the Assembly and the Senate told The Post they are considering a bill to give the MTA a glorified IOU, enough to cover the $1 billion of expected congestion pricing revenue for each of the next 15 years. 

“It’s very simply something that just says there will be a billion dollars for the MTA in the following year’s budget, but without any specifics as to what that means,” state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) told reporters shortly after senators broke from a nearly three-hour long meeting around 11:00 p.m. Thursday.

A spokesperson for the state Senate said the exact language of the bill is expected to be released Friday with a vote expected sometime during the day.

State lawmakers in both the Assembly and the Senate told The Post they are considering a bill to give the MTA a glorified IOU. Newsday via Getty Images
The New York Post front cover for June 6, 2024: “Tool Boot!” rfaraino

Lawmakers are fuming at Hochul from all sides after she sprung her decision to scrap the toll only a day before they were scheduled to end the legislative session and with no immediate plan to replace the expected revenue.

“Nobody wants to see the MTA capital plan explode and unfortunately the governor has created this environment where that’s at risk,” Gianaris said before showing off a pair of MTA-branded socks.

Hochul’s first proposal to hike up the payroll mobility tax on businesses drew swift backlash from lawmakers across the board as well as some of her allies in the business community. The move shocked many as Hochul had firmly refused to raise taxes as part of budget talks earlier this year.

A map of the MTA’s congestion pricing plan for Manhattan. NY Post composite
A congestion-pricing toll gantry sits on W40th Street in Manhattan on May 22, 2024. Christopher Sadowski

That pitch was effectively dead before sundown Thursday, leading lawmakers to work with Hochul and the MTA to hatch a palatable alternative that would keep projects slated to receive capital funds alive as well as maintain the transit agency’s financial health.

It’s still unclear how much support the “IOU” measure has in either house, though several lawmakers have already told the Post they plan to vote against it.

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