In a recent interview with Fox 5, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the federal government should pay for the city’s migrant crisis.
Cuomo said that United States cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are dealing with the migrant crisis on their own, which could lead to severe fiscal problems and failure.
He said, “The first symptom of cities starting to fail is an economic fiscal problem, which is what you’re seeing in New York now. The costs go up, the tax base starts to go down, and the city is faced with the very difficult choice of cutting services.”
Cuomo emphasized that if cities began cutting services due to budget constraints, the situation would deteriorate further, potentially leading people to leave the cities.
Mayor Eric Adams has visited Washington, D.C. ten times to request additional federal funding for migrants, but has been unable to secure it.
The city projects that it will require $12 billion to manage the crisis.
Cuomo stressed that it is the federal government’s responsibility, and not solely that of New York City or other cities, to address the crisis because the federal government manages the border and sets the policy.
He remarked, “I am surprised that the federal government has essentially abandoned the city.”
The former governor also criticized the state government for not taking sufficient measures to address the situation effectively.
During the interview, Cuomo also addressed the state’s new congestion pricing law. Once a staunch supporter of the state’s congestion pricing law, he has shifted his stance, now advocating for a reevaluation of the program.
In 2019, Cuomo was instrumental in driving the legislation, which proposed a $15 toll for entering Midtown Manhattan’s business district, through the state legislature.
However, he now argues that the plan could further deter people from visiting Manhattan, especially in the wake of the pandemic’s impacts and ongoing issues with crime and homelessness in the city.
Cuomo expressed concerns that the current environment differs significantly from when the legislation was passed.
He noted, “There’s now a choice C: stay home,” highlighting the option of remote work and virtual meetings that were not prevalent six years ago.
He suggested a need for a new study to assess whether the increased tolls might lead to fewer people visiting the city, potentially reducing revenue instead of increasing it.
In 2019, Cuomo had argued that congestion pricing was the only viable solution to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) capital needs and had dismissed concerns about the impact on motorists, claiming it would mostly affect the wealthy who could afford to drive into Manhattan.
His reversal has drawn criticism from transit advocates. Daniel Pearstein from the Riders Alliance commented, “The former governor could have been remembered for setting us on the path to fix the subway. Now that he’s out of power, this Grinch doesn’t want anyone to have a modern, reliable, accessible public transit network.”
Governor Kathy Hochul, Cuomo’s successor, continues to support the implementation of the congestion pricing toll, which is set to be rolled out by the MTA as early as next spring.
The MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan responded to Cuomo’s remarks, emphasizing the success of similar pricing in cities like Singapore, Stockholm, and London.
Donovan stated, “What would really harm New York’s continuing recovery is starving subways of a desperately needed source of funding after decades of underinvestment. Congestion Pricing means faster emergency response times, cleaner air, and better service for how most New Yorkers travel, so it’s disappointing the former Governor is flip-flopping on his support for that.”
The plan, which includes varying tolls for different types of vehicles and peak times, faces opposition from some politicians in New Jersey and New York while being supported by environmental advocates and some business groups.
Cuomo, who resigned from his position amid allegations of sexual misconduct, has been attempting to regain a foothold in the political arena.