Gov. Hochul still has no answer to the question of how to compensate for the loss of revenue from congestion pricing

Twenty-four hours after Governor Hochul threw a hand grenade into the MTA’s capital budget by putting congestion pricing on an indefinite pause, there was no clear plan Thursday to fund the agency’s large-scale projects.

“We have set aside funding to support the MTA capital plan and are currently exploring other sources of funding,” Hochul said in a pre-recorded announcement Wednesday, without taking questions from the press.

But the governor’s spokespeople provided no details Thursday when asked about the funding Hochul claimed to have set aside.

When asked how Hochul planned to seek “other sources of funding” as the state legislative session was set to end Thursday evening, a spokesperson for Hochul referred the Daily News to the governor’s statement Wednesday, which provided no details.

The congestion pricing plan was expected to generate $1 billion a year in toll revenue, money from which MTA officials had planned to borrow to finance $15 billion in capital projects.

Hochul said Wednesday she was committed to completing these projects — which include everything from maintaining the subway tracks and purchasing new buses and rail cars to tunneling under Manhattan to expand the Second Ave subway.

But it remained a mystery Thursday where the money to implement those plans would come from.

“If you find out, let me know,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D, Manhattan) told The News.

“I think after yesterday’s announcement there is a reluctance to do anything rash,” he said with a chuckle. “At least among my colleagues, but we are waiting to find a way forward.”

One potential source of funding would be an increase in the so-called wage mobility tax for large employers in the MTA’s operating region.

But the payroll tax was increased last year during the MTA budget negotiations for New York City businesses, bringing in an additional $1.1 billion for the agency’s operations. Various sources were skeptical on Thursday about the political will to increase them again.

“Members of New York City are dismayed at the idea that we would now shoulder the burden for the entire MTA region, which includes twelve New York counties, two Long Island counties, and two Connecticut counties, not to mention New Jersey,” Hoylman-Sigal said. said. “It is the opposite of what congestion pricing is supposed to solve, which is shared responsibility for the regional transportation system.”

Sources with knowledge of the situation told The News that MTA was concerned there was no solid plan in place to fill the funding gap. Multiple sources said Hochul’s announcement took the agency’s leadership — including MTA Chairman Janno Lieber — by surprise.

A lack of funding would jeopardize a slew of MTA projects — both expansions of the system and overdue repairs.

Some $3.4 billion in federal funding for an expansion of the long-delayed Second Ave. subway will disappear if the MTA cannot raise its own $4.3 billion in “local match” funding. Those dollars should come from the congestion tolls.

The toll was also intended to pay for the modern signaling systems on the A, C, B, D, F and M trains, speeding up service throughout the city.

A lack of funding would also preclude the purchase of 437 new R211 subway cars, the planned replacement for the 1980s vintage R68 cars on B, D, N, Q, W and Franklin Ave. Shuttle lines.

An R211T train (Marc A. Hermann / MTA)
An R211T train (Marc A. Hermann / MTA)

However much money Hochul manages to raise, agency sources say they need more than a one-time payment.

“The organization has a requirement to be fiscally responsible,” an agency official told The News. “All alternatives must ensure the sustainable fiscal health of the MTA.”

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