Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis is open to considering congestion pricing. Malliotakis, who represents the East Shore of Staten Island in the New York State Assembly, cast congestion pricing as “in broad terms, something that needs to be looked at” and described “the Sam Schwartz plan [as] a starting point for a real conversation.” (I understand the Sam Schwartz plan as including bridge and tunnel toll reductions in a congestion pricing system.) Malliotakis has long been a critic of the toll prices set by the M.T.A. on the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge, and she expressly conditioned consideration of any congestion pricing plan on capping bridge and tunnel tolls.
Malliotakis was replying to my question during a press conference this morning in Ridgewood. Malliotakis held the press conference to call for implantation of “Smart Light technology” throughout the City. Such technology involves using a variety of sensors and artificial intelligence to actively manage traffic signals with a goal of improving traffic flow. That’s a goal broadly shared with the various congestion pricing ideas proposed, which seek to limit Manhattan traffic congestion by charging drivers a fee to enter the busier parts of Manhattan.
Here’s our exchange: