You are reading

Gianaris, Simotas and Cruz Want Congestion Pricing to be Included in State Budget, April 1 Deadline Looms

Mike Gianaris upset that the MTA didn’t include elevators when revamping the Ditmars Blvd station (Feb. 2018)

Feb. 19, 2019 By Christian Murray

Several state legislators will be reaching out to subway riders this week as they try to put pressure on their fellow lawmakers to include congestion pricing in the upcoming budget.

The legislators, many from western Queens, want the senate and assembly to pass a budget that includes congestion pricing. They say that the MTA desperately needs the income, arguing that the system is falling in to disrepair.

The budget deadline is April 1 and while Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for it, local legislators want the Assembly and State Senate to support it too.

The plan would charge every passenger vehicle and truck a toll that enters Manhattan below 60th Street and is likely to raise about $1 billion per year. The MTA hopes to borrow against that revenue stream and raise $15 billion over five years once the plan is implemented.

This morning, State Sen. Mike Gianaris, joined by members of the Riders Alliance, kicked off a series of subway ride-alongs that will include other state legislators over the course of the week. They are using the ride-alongs as an opportunity to talk to riders about their commutes–and congestion pricing– as they make a final push for its inclusion in the budget.

Later this week, legislators from Brooklyn as well as Queens will be joining the ride-alongs. Assemblymembers Catalina Cruz (Jackson Heights) and Aravella Simotas (Astoria) will be among them.

“We need to build momentum…this is critical,” Gianaris said this morning. “The subway system is the life blood of New York and we can’t do anything without it functioning property. People can’t get to school or work and we have neglected it for too long.”

Cars would be charged $11.52 to enter the zone, according to the Fix NYC proposal. Vehicles that come in via the MTA’s tolled East River crossings–such as the Queens-Midtown tunnel—would be credited.

The money raised through congestion pricing would go toward modernizing the system—including new subway cars and station elevators, advocates say.

“Congestion pricing is the most urgent agenda item in the upcoming state budget for millions of New York riders,” said Riders Alliance Political Director Rebecca Bailin.

Along with Simotas and Cruz, Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) and Michael DenDekker (D-East Elmhurst) told the Queens Post last month that they support congestion pricing. Additionally, State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-13th District) has expressed support.

Cuomo is pushing hard for its inclusion. He recently warned that if state lawmakers do not approve it — subway riders could face a 30 percent fare increase.

But state lawmakers are divided, with some representatives concerned about its impact on residents who commute to Manhattan from the suburbs.

For instance, Assemblymember David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) continues to fight against the concept. He said that the neighborhoods in eastern Queens are not close to the subway and that congestion pricing would be akin to a tax hike.

email the author:


Click for Comments 
Skip Seglipse

People who actually think Giannaris really killed 25,000 jobs have no clue how the economy works.

No More!

The Greek American community of Astoria and LIC will no longer support politicians like Gianaris, Simotas and Constantinides.
The old days of voting for politicians with the same ethnic background are over.
They co-sponsored the late term abortion bill, support congestive pricing (new tolls) and chased away 25,000 jobs.
These politicians are a disgrace to the Greek American community.


I see alot of dislikes on people making good points on the greedy politicians. Either you are young virtue signaling AOC/Bernie hipsters out of NY or you are on the Democratic dole. Which is it? NYC has fallen.

People still actually say "virtue signaling?"

I thought it was only used ironically to make fun of how the maga kids are completely unoriginal


First these politicians chase away 25,000 jobs and now they want to add more tolls for the people that have jobs. ??‍♂️


Three USELESS Greek-American politicians from Astoria! Shame on you Mike Gianaris, Costa Constantinides and Arevella Simotas.
Chasing away 25,000 jobs and adding more tolls in Manhattan does not help the Greek-American community.
We will never support you again!


Job Killer Gianaris is sticking to the middle class again with congestive pricing aka NEW TOLLS.


Gianaris the Job Killer now wants to take more money from us by adding tolls in Manhattan. This guy is like a recurring nightmare.

Defeat Gianaris

Gianaris killed over 25,000 JOBS and now he wants to hurt the working middle class by adding more tolls in Manhattan.
We need to get rid of this very bad politician and the only way to do it is through the democratic primaries. We now have someone willing to run. Please click on the link below and help support the cause.


The last time congestion pricing came up I wrote to City Hall about having to go into Manhattan with meals and more to my elderly in-laws. Should there be an extra charge for those who take care of others, not to mention the outrageous parking meter charges? What about those with disability permits? Will they be good only in the outer boroughs? Access-a-ride will charge more to Medicare and Medicaid to bring people for weekly or daily trips for medical treatments. What would AOC say about these scenarios? Manhattan traffic increased exponentially when Uber and Lyft were allowed to overreach, also negatively effecting yellow and green taxi drivers. It’s those new, account only black car companies that have contributed to the increased congestion. Go after Them!


Thank you, “Patret”–you have my interests at heart. I can’t take the brutal conditions of the subways nowadays–crowds and no-elevators stations. Most people are kind, but the increased rudeness is scary. No one over seventy needs that stress; even the fittest.
If I want to go the a religious service, to theater, to shop or see my Cornell doctors, I must drive.
Go after Uber and Lyft and the rest. Limit them severely. Cab drivers–the yellow cabs–paid dearly to be trained, supervised and licensed by the City of NY. Suicides among our cabbies are a tragedy, as unlimited drivers flood the streets–they are themselves helpless in the congestion. Unfortunately, Uber does not want limits, and cares less about New York City and least about their drivers, and now now suing to prevent a minimal wage for drivers they lured into near bankruptcy.
Uber and their kind have no shame–our reps have to step up and shove back against these bullies–not the citizens of Queens who have to drive into Manhattan..

Nick the eye

Ah yes the socialist twit that bankrolls thousands every month in rental income from properties he owns yet now wants to tax the crap out of hard working New Yorkers . Spare me please!! PASOK and the democrat socialist of America must be impressed with him.

John Maspeth

Gianaris is on a roll!
– Co-sponsored the late term abortion bill.
– Chased away 25,000 Jobs and $27 billionin tax revenue.
– Wants to add tolls in Manhattan.
What is wrong with this guy?

Leo Zachs

Gianaris and Constantinides are like the traitor Ephialtes from the movie 300. You guys always screw your community.

1 + 1 = 3 billion dollars

Cortez the math genius said we have $3 billion left over since Amazon left. Can we just use that money instead of sticking it to the middle class with congestion pricing.


Believe taxation of Uber and Lyft, etc. would do the trick. No need to condemn middle income seniors, especially those living far from transportation hubs, to life without Manhattan based medical care, church services.
By the way, most services for all of Manhattan, including elevator, heating, mechanical needs for high rises, is based in Queens. Companies can and might desert Queens for New Jersey, considering this another increase of an increasingly hostile environment. Think twice, congestion enthusiasts. Or continue to desert voters who need cars.


“For instance, Assemblymember David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) continues to fight against the concept. He said that the neighborhoods in eastern Queens are not close to the subway and that congestion pricing would be akin to a tax hike.”

They have a point. And if we want to reduce the amount of people driving into Manhattan for work then we need to create more options. The subway isn’t a possibility so we need a real BRT system, not SBS which is probably 1/3 as effective as it could be.

outraged I tells ya

I have to PAY for the space my private car takes up in a city with public transportation readily available? I’m outraged!


Not everyone is able to take public transportation. I routinely need to drive my brother-in-law who is undergoing cancer treatment to SKM. The subways are not an option for him because he cannot be in an enclosed space for fear of picking up germs and bacteria he cannot fight off. Believe it or not, there are many people in the same boat…elderly or sick people for which public transportation is not an option.


Gianaris and his other idiot lawmakers need to stop hurting the communities they represent. Vote these people out!


What’s next.. a toll at every intersection in Manhattan? Why do drivers and taxpayers have to pay for MTA mismanagement. How about some accountability for blowing up rising budgets.

Pat Macnamara

Amen. The MTA is a bloated, incompetent organization. How many more surcharges on phone bills, taxi rides, and other assessments are needed to prop up this disaster???An 8+ year project to upgrade the 7 line signals is still rife with issues? Why isn’t anyone questioning them on that? Why do station upgrades take 9 months???? Better yet why does it take near catastrophic failures before the MTA does anything? Look into their pensions and contracts before they tax citizens more for horrendous service….


In order to fix our trains we would need to fire all the corrupt MTA executives and union workers. Unfortunately, they are in bed with almost all NY politicians.

It's all connected

For the same reason Amazon doesn’t want unions. Unionized workers are lazy since they have no fear of being fired. I’ve seen those service trains with 10 guys watching 1 guy sweep the floor.

Old as Dirt

Hey Rick!! talk to AOC maybe she can tell you how to access the $3billion that is now just waiting to be spent since YOU, her & other idiots get away from NYC


Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Long Islander gets 3-9 years for stealing homes across Queens belonging to elderly or disabled owners: AG

New York Attorney General Letitia James and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that a Long Island man was sentenced to three to nine years in prison Friday for leading a deed theft ring that resulted in five homes being stolen from vulnerable Queens residents and saw them earn more $1 million in ill-gotten gains.

Marcus Wilcher, 48, of Carll Drive in Bay Shore, pleaded guilty in May to grand larceny in the second degree in Queens Supreme Court for his role in leading the crew following an investigation by the Attorney General’s office.

NYPD searching for burglary crew that targeted nearly 30 laundromats in Queens and others in Brooklyn and the Bronx

Police from the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst are looking for three masked men who broke into Susan’s Laundromat at 85-12 Grand Ave. at around 3:15 a.m. on Monday, June 24, while a fourth member of their crew acted as a lookout near their getaway car parked in front.

The burglars stole $1,800 in cash and removed a payment machine for the laundry room continuing an undetermined amount of cash.