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OPINION: Gov. Cuomo Is Talking Crazy About Congestion Pricing — But He May Be Crazy Like a Fox | Streetsblog New York City

Gov. Cuomo said the wrong thing about transit on Wednesday — but he said it for the right reason.

In a chat with Brian Lehrer on WNYC, the governor suggested that congestion pricing must pass so that the MTA would not need to raise transit fares to cover an annual operating budget shortfall this year.

“Either the fares go up or you have congestion pricing,” the governor said. “Pick it. It’s A or B. There is no C. My job as governor is … to force the political system to answer the hard question.”

Advocates were quick to remind the governor that it’s not an either/or. The fare hike is meant to close a $270-million operating budget gap this year so that the MTA does not need to make more service cuts. Congestion pricing is meant to raise $1-plus billion per year so that the MTA can sell $15-billion-plus in bonds to undertake major capital improvements and turn around decades of disinvestment in transit.

The operating budget and the capital budget are not interchangeable.

So Cuomo obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Except that he does. His goal is not to debate the nuances of transit funding. His goal is to get recalcitrant legislators — all those car-addicted, out-of-touch lawmakers — to pass congestion pricing. And the governor obviously believes that his best bet is to demagogue the issue — his speciality! — and present lawmakers with a stark choice:

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OPINION: Gov. Cuomo Is Talking Crazy About Congestion Pricing — But He May Be Crazy Like a Fox – Streetsblog New York City.