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State Senators To Gov. Cuomo: Without Knowing All Details, It's Not Right To Vote On Idea Of Congestion Pricing

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There is consternation about congestion pricing.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's surprising new demand that lawmakers approve the controversial Metropolitan Transportation Authority bailout without knowing the exact fees, hours and other variables has upset some members of the Legislature, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

Could congestion pricing be derailed? And by the governor, himself?

MOREGov. Cuomo Gives Chilling Ultimatum: Pass Congestion Pricing Or Get A 30 Percent MTA Fare Increase

Cuomo's sudden decision to ask lawmakers to approve the massive $15 billion plan to fix mass transit without knowing the exact details for a year and a half was the main topic at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

"Am I misreading that this plan might not come out until the end of 2020?" Sen. Liz Kruger, D-Manhattan, asked.

"Senator, I think you are correct with respect to congestion pricing. I think it's a date between November and December of 2020," MTA President Patrick Foye said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo
(credit: CBS2)

And there it was, the elephant in the room. Lawmakers reacted to a budget amendment put out by Gov. Cuomo late last Friday that asked them to approve the idea of congestion pricing, and then have an as-yet-to-be-named panel set the rates, the hours and other variables way down the line.

Senators at the hearing were dismayed.

CBS2's Kramer asked Senate Finance Committee Chair Kruger if she would vote for a plan without knowing how much her constituents would be changed and when they would pay to enter the Central Business District below 60th Street.

"I think I would be very uncomfortable voting for it and I think most of the legislators would be even more uncomfortable," Kruger said.

"No, I think we need to know all of the details before we approve it," added Sen. Robert Jackson, D-Manhattan.

MOREMayor De Blasio Seeks 'Carve Out' In Congestion Pricing Plan For Poor People

Cuomo's plan evoked shades of the Tappan Zee Bridge controversy, where Westchester-Rockland residents still don't know how much tolls will go up to pay for the new span. That, too, is expected to be announced next year.

Given the lawmakers' demand for details Kramer tried to press the MTA for answers.

When asked when the numbers will be made public, Foye said, "I'd be making it up if I gave you -- it's gonna be this hour, this date, Marcia, and I think we'll all have more information over the days and weeks to come."

In the past, a gubernatorial panel recommended a congestion fee of $11.52 for cars and more than $25 for trucks. The governor wants variable pricing where rates could change depending on the time of day and the day of the week.

Still, there are unknowns, like whether the demand by Mayor Bill de Blasio and others for carve-outs will affect the price.

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