Top officials say many Hudson Valley residents and Upstate New Yorkers live in a "desert."

Officials say those living in Orange, Ulster, Sullivan, Dutchess and Rockland counties, as well as places north of the counties, are in a "transit desert." Officials coined this term while talking about the controversial congestion pricing plan.

Update On Controversial Congestion Pricing Plan In New York

New York City Explores Congestion Pricing Options To Ease Traffic Snarls
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On Wednesday, Hudson Valley Post reported that New York Gov. Kathy Hochul was having second thoughts about the upcoming congestion pricing toll.

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The plan was set to start on June 30 and would have charged drivers at least $15 to drive south of Central Park in Manhattan. The toll aimed to reduce traffic and improve air quality in New York City. Some of the toll money would go towards enhancing New York City's subway and railway system.

Many politicians in the Hudson Valley opposed the toll, arguing it won't do much except place a burden on thousands of commuters from the region.

First-In-The-Nation Congestion Pricing Plan Paused

New York City Explores Congestion Pricing Options To Ease Traffic Snarls
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Later on Wednesday, Gov. Hochul officially paused congestion pricing "indefinitely."

“While I understand the program’s intent to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and financially support our public transit system, I had concerns about the impact on New Yorkers residing in transit deserts with no viable transportation option into Manhattan other than by car," State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. stated after the pause was announced.

Reasons For Congestion Pricing Pause

New York City Explores Congestion Pricing Options To Ease Traffic Snarls
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Hochul's office said the pause is to "avoid added burdens to working- and middle-class families."

“Post-pandemic, most working-class New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet. I am in agreement with delaying the start of congestion pricing for any reason," Assemblymember Taylor Darling said.

Hochul was also concerned with how the toll would impact New York City's economic recovery from the COVID pandemic. Her office believed the plan would cause more people to work from home and stop tourists from driving into New York City.

“I support Governor Hochul’s decision of pausing the ‘Congestion Pricing Toll.’ At this moment congestion pricing will negatively impact our businesses and the state economics," Assemblymember Yudelka Tapia said

Get Ready To Pay More: Plan For Massive Toll To Drive In New York State Approved

Politics Likely Key Reason

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However, politics is likely the real reason. Many New York Democrats believed the plan would help Republicans in the upcoming election. 2024 is a very important election and Republican victories in New York State in 2022 helped Republicans take control of the House.

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New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (Dem), the House minority leader, reportedly told Gov. Hochul that congestion pricing would hurt Democrats in the upcoming election.

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