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Cuomo Says Congestion Pricing Will Start Small, Target For-Hire Vehicles

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New details have been released about New York's congestion pricing plans.

As CBS2's Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, drivers and people coming in from the outer boroughs are getting a reprieve. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says they will not have to pay an extra fee to enter parts of Manhattan.

With "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon nipping at his heels, the governor said his ambitious plan to raise money to fix the subways will have to start small, with a surcharge on for-hire vehicles and taxis. He calls it "phase one."

"A lot of the congestion now comes from these new Ubers and Lyfts, which stay in the central business district," he said.

More: Task Force Unveils Manhattan Congestion Pricing Plan

Realistically, the expectation that Cuomo, the Senate and the Assembly would approve the plan to make drivers pay a fee to enter Manhattan's central business district this year when they're all up for reelection this November was a pie in the sky, Kramer reported.

But adding Nixon to the equation, with her desire to make subways a central issue in the Democratic primary, was a certain death knell. Remember, on her first day as a candidate, she pointedly rode the subways and complained about delays.

"We start congestion pricing with these for-hire vehicle charges," the governor said. "That would be a good start."

The MTA bailout plan is part of the ongoing budget negotiations in Albany. The deadly is March 31, and in the ways of Albany, the details of what and how much funding we be raised won't be known until the very end.

"I am cautiously optimistic, and we've had good conversations so far, but there's a week to go. We're not there yet," said Cuomo.

There are many ways to raise money for mass transit. If the Legislature decides to do it, there's a proposal to use city sales tax money, and another to increase the real estate transfer tax.

All this as commuters are faced with the very real possibility of fare and toll hikes next year.

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