Here we go again.
First Mayor Adams tried (and failed) to ship migrants to upstate counties following his defiant declaration, “New York City will remain a sanctuary city under an Adams administration.”
Now his city’s public-transit system wants to balance its books on the backs of bedroom communities like my own Cornwall-on-Hudson via what it calls the Central Business District Tolling Program — and what the rest of us call congestion pricing.
This is yet another disastrous policy doomed to fail that New York Democrats craftily package as “environmental justice,” claiming it will defeat congestion, improve public safety and enhance air quality.
Residents are fleeing the five boroughs in droves.
We know this because when the mass exodus doesn’t increase red-state populations, dissatisfied city denizens end up in our northern counties.
Pretend it isn’t quality-of-life concerns related to the sharp rise in crime (wrought by neutering the NYPD) and increasing costs contributing to unaffordability for the poor and middle class.
Yet the New York City Council and Albany politicians continue to whistle past the graveyard.
In the latest tone-deaf approach to solving its own problems, the city has found an unlikely ally in Buffalo born-and-bred Gov. Hochul, who hails the policy as reducing gridlock on city streets.
What New York City and Albany fail to understand is the additional $15 tariff for the “privilege” of entering the central business district — 60th Street and below in Manhattan — is counterproductive.
We exist in a post-pandemic world.
New York City relies heavily on tourism and benefits from its status as the world’s economic capital.
But 21st-century technology allows for remote work options.
Make it unaffordable to commute, and the market (workforce) adjusts.
I’m speaking for many of my constituents who make the long and costly commute to the Big Apple every week from our village but now have options.
So why would New York City do this?
Just do the math.
The city has a $7 billion budget deficit.
And the Metropolitan Transportation Authority suffers nearly $700 million a year in losses due to farebeating — incredibly, by a third of bus and nearly 13% of subway riders.
Democrats and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg tout decriminalization efforts and cast these thieves as modern-day Jean Valjeans.
Self-sabotage has a price.
But why should Cornwall-on-Hudson residents be asked to bear part of that burden?
If, as MTA Chairman Janno Lieber laments, farebeating “tears at the social fabric” of New York, why is it tolerated and why are costs passed along?
Rep. Pat Ryan (D-NY) and I share more than just West Point as our alma mater.
While we are registered in opposing political parties, he represents the greater Cornwall area in Congress and is against this “unfair, uninformed and unacceptable” congestion-pricing plan.
He has slammed the MTA and demanded it hold in-person hearings in the Hudson Valley to discuss this commuter-punishment tax.
The congressman is a House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure member and recognizes the deleterious effects on commuters already strapped with obscenely high bridge-and-tunnel tariffs.
I spent two decades commuting to New York City and well understand the cost burden.
New York will be the first American city to further punish commuters who greatly contribute to the Big Apple’s economy.
Only the rich can afford the costs of doing business as a New York City commuter.
Beware the law of unintended consequences.
Continue to force us to pay for your poor policy decisions and witness firsthand how the market course corrects.
It always does.
New York City relies on us, and we now know we have options.
James A. Gagliano serves as the two-term mayor of Cornwall-on-Hudson and is a retired FBI supervisory special agent and St. John’s University doctoral candidate in homeland security.