Gov. Hochul remains wrongly stuck on the nonsense idea that she can unilaterally undo the 2019 state law that requires New York State to impose a congestion pricing fee on vehicles driving south of 60th St. And as for the little matter of the missing $15 billion from the MTA’s capital plan, Hochul said yesterday “To assume that the only funding source had to be congestion pricing shows a lack of imagination about understanding other opportunities to fund these projects.”

Of course, we can hold a raffle, or have a bake sale, or open a lemonade stand (although an illegal pot shop would be more lucrative). She has figured it out! What have we been missing all these decades?!

Not. Maybe some of the smoke from the illegal pot shops is wafting into the diners where government policy seems to be made nowadays.

Imagination won’t pay for new signals or rolling stock or refurbishing stations or installing elevators to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Imagination won’t supply the necessary local share for federally-funded expansions like bringing the Second Ave. subway from 96th St. to 125th St. (Uncle Sam put up $3.4 billion on the condition that New York equals that amount).

Imagination won’t reduce the worst and slowest traffic Midtown has seen in the half century that former Traffic Commissioner Sam Schwartz has been studying it. Schwartz, who coined the word “gridlock” and wrote the Gridlock Sam traffic column for the Daily News for 32 years, is the world expert here, not Hochul.

Tolls, not imagination, is what is needed. And those tolls, written into statute, will collect $3 million in cash every day, totaling $1 billion a year, which can be used to sell $15 billion on the bond market. Instead, there’s now a warning on the credit rating on the MTA’s bonds. Thanks, Gov.

This is not the first time that Hochul has played politics with the MTA’s finances, hoping to be seen as delivering pocketbook relief to constituents. On Nov. 15, 2021, in office less than three months, she stood in the Albany airport departure lounge to say: “I’m really excited to say we will not have to raise fares or have any service cuts,” undermining a planned small fare hike. That her own election was approaching in the coming months was just a coincidence.

She was not a heroine, but a meddler. Yeah! No fare hike! No toll for cars! And no ability for the MTA to provide decent transit.

As we and others have said, the law demands that congestion pricing happen. And as to when, the law also says:

Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1703 (8). ‘Operation date’ means the date determined by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), which shall not be earlier than Dec. 31, 2020, for the beginning of the operation and enforcement of the central business district tolling program. The operation and enforcement date shall commence only after an initial program testing period of 30 days where no collection of any tolls, fees, or other charges shall be authorized.”

The TBTA is the MTA, their boards being coterminous, and on March 27 the MTA Board voted, with one dissent, to adopt the tolling program. The “date determined” was then set at June 30. The MTA has not altered that date, nor should it.

We assume the “initial program testing period” began on June 1 and MTA Chair Janno Lieber said yesterday the cameras and the rest were ready as he now works to “reprioritize, rethink and shrink the capital plan” in the absence of the revenue that Hochul wants delayed.

Since Hochul is refusing to have the state Department of Transportation sign the final federal approval, along with the city and the MTA, it will take a court to order it be done. So who will step up to make her administration obey state law?

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