The MTA has been sounding the alarm for months, but on Valentine’s Day came a delivery of what amounted to a “pause in the relationship” letter to contractors. Jamie Torres-Springer, the president of MTA Construction and Development, sent the message that no new contracts can be awarded for projects amid the uncertainty over congestion pricing.

"Congestion pricing makes up more than 50% percent of what’s left in our capital program," Torres-Springer said. "And so everything else we’re doing, we really have to prioritize for emergency repairs and we’re not able to invest in the things that are really important here.”

What You Need To Know

  • The MTA said money from congestion pricing makes up more than 50% of funding for the agency’s capital program

  • The agency said they can’t spend money they don’t yet have, and right now that’s only enough to make emergency repairs

  • MTA Construction and Development president Jamie Torres-Springer said this not only hurts transit riders but also small businesses who rely on contracts with the MTA

Projects that rely on the funding include modern signaling on the A train to Far Rockaway, more ADA-accessible stations and phase two of the Second Avenue subway.

The MTA is facing at least four federal lawsuits to stop congestion pricing. One filed by the teachers’ union and Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella is being moved to the Southern District and could be combined with two other New York suits. Oral arguments in New Jersey’s case are set for early April.

The New Jersey suit could be decided first, but Torres-Springer wouldn’t say whether that would be the trigger to issue new contracts.

“Were confident we’re gonna get through the litigation that’s in front of us and be successful,” he said. “I can’t tell you the exact timing of that. That’s up to the judicial system. But we sure hope that it’s soon, because in the meantime, we’re not able to make these improvements that keep the system in a state of good repair.”

Torres-Springer said it’s not just about the transit system, but businesses — especially minority and women-owned small businesses — who rely on the MTA for their livelihoods.

“These are businesses that depend on this capital, and they do good work, and they depend on the work in order to pay their bills,” Torres-Springer said. “And unfortunately, that’s got to go on hold now because of this litigation against congestion pricing.”

Torres-Springer said, however, the MTA is ready to start tolling, which is expected by mid-June.