Watch CBS News

Adams urges MTA to consider congestion pricing exemptions, but board set to approve new Manhattan tolls on Wednesday

Adams wants MTA to consider some congestion pricing exemptions
Adams wants MTA to consider some congestion pricing exemptions 03:14

NEW YORK -- Mayor Eric Adams called for more congestion pricing exemptions on Tuesday, the day before an MTA vote to move ahead with the costly and controversial tolls. 

We asked the mayor if city workers, police officers, firefighters, teachers, judges, City Council members and those who work in his administration, should get a free pass if they have to work in the congestion zone. 

"I think you were doing very well until you said people working at City Hall. You know, they, we have to pay," said Adams. 

So no get-out-of-jail-free cards, or in this case credits toward congestion fees, for the thousands of city workers who fill the office towers, police precincts, schools and courts located below 60th Street in Manhattan

Adams does want the MTA board to consider toll exemptions for others, like people who come into the city for medical appointments and school buses.

The mayor doesn't want people who take yellow cabs to pay the $1.50 congestion fee that's on the table, either. It's all about supporting the hard-hit industry. 

"This is a fleet that has had a history of serving New York, especially Manhattan, for decades and has gone through incredible financial distress," said Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi. 

Gov. Hochul, MTA and other advocates rally in support of congestion pricing 25:17

It comes as Gov. Kathy Hochul and MTA executives joined transit advocates for a rally supporting congestion pricing, which will sock drivers with a $15 fee for entering the Central Business District

"My friends, this is going to be transformative. We'll have the resources to invest in our system -- a 110-year-old system -- so it's positioned for the next 110 years, because of the courage here today," said Hochul. "That's what we're fighting for."

"We've got a financially secure MTA system and we're increasing ridership -- not just on the Long Island Rail Road, but on subways -- so every day, commuters get more reliable service," said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber

"We support the recommendations, many echoing what our coalition called for and critically minimizing exemptions for some in favor of a fairer program for all," said Betsy Plum, executive director of Riders Alliance New York.

"For God's sake, today is a Gridlock Alert Day and eight out of the next 10 days are Gridlock Alert Days. Does anybody want to do something finally? Come on," Lieber added. 

Meanwhile, the transport workers union took to X, formerly Twitter, to take the MTA to task for not adding extra service to cope with the expected increase in mass transit riders. 

"The @MTA claims it doesn't need to add service before congestion pricing because there's room on existing buses & trains. Obnoxious. Tone deaf. An empty seat on a bus that's not convenient to work/home is useless. A long wait for a train isn't appealing," the union posted. 

"Come to the Central Business District, come to these neighborhoods that have been choking on congestion for decades. We are going to solve it," said NYC Transit President Rich Davey. 

Lieber said he'd be "happy to listen" to the mayor's plea for more exemptions, but when the MTA board meets Wednesday morning, it is expected to give a thumbs up to the proposal, setting off a 4-month public comment period. 

Congestion pricing could start in the spring. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.