Brian Kavanagh: Congestion Pricing “Should Be Part of the Equation”

Both the Brooklyn and Manhattan sides of Kavanagh's State Senate district are overrun by motorists drawn to the promise of a free trip across the East River.

When congestion pricing was on the table 10 years ago, Martin Connor, who represented Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn in the State Senate, never spoke up to advance the plan through Albany. It was only after congestion pricing was defeated that Connor told constituents he “supported it,” even though he “never told anybody.”

The current occupant of that State Senate seat, Brian Kavanagh, is more willing to take a public position when it matters.

Kavanagh previously represented an East Side district in the Assembly, where he co-sponsored the Move NY toll reform bill introduced by Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez. In the State Senate, Kavanagh’s district extends to neighborhoods in northwest Brooklyn that are also overrun by bridge traffic, and his position hasn’t changed. Which makes sense, since streets on both the Brooklyn and Manhattan sides of Kavanagh’s district are overrun by motorists drawn to the promise of a free trip across the East River.

In a statement provided to Streetsblog, Kavanagh reiterated his support for congestion pricing:

I’ve long been a supporter of creating a pricing plan to fight congestion and fund our transit system. I supported congestion pricing even before 2008 when the idea was last debated in Albany — and I was a prime sponsor of the Move NY plan in the Assembly last year.

Of course the details matter — and I look forward to reviewing the Governor’s proposal when he releases it. We must ensure any plan we enact is effective and doesn’t unduly burden any New Yorker or community.

The MTA is undoubtedly in a crisis, and establishing reliable revenue sources must be our top priority. Any feasible plan that raises much-needed funds for mass transit has to be on the table, and I believe congestion pricing should be part of the equation.

Streetsblog has spoken to three Albany legislators so far about where they stand on congestion pricing, with Governor Cuomo expected to release a plan this session. Note that Kavanagh puts the emphasis on ensuring that a congestion pricing system is “effective” — something Yuh-line Niou and Richard Gottfried didn’t mention in their statements to Streetsblog.