Today’s news:

MTA chair appointee says no to congestion pricing

Gov. David Paterson’s appointee to head the MTA told a public hearing that congestion pricing is not on his agenda.

“I have no intent to try to implement congestion pricing in the region,” said Jay Walder, a native of the Rockaways, at a hearing Sept. 3 in Mineola, L.I., last week.

Walder served as head of London Transit from 2001-07, during which he brought about a plan of Mayor Ken Livingston to charge vehicle operators as much as $16 per day to enter London’s central business district.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg came up with a congestion pricing plan for Manhattan but it met so much opposition it never came up for a vote in the state Legislature.

Several members of the state Legislature told Walder he must restore the transit-riding public’s trust in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

“Simply put, the MTA has the responsibility to present information that matters and present it in a way that people can understand,” Walder said.

Walder must still be approved by the state Senate.

He would succeed Elliot Sander as MTA chairman and executive director. Sander resigned after Paterson announced last spring that “we are going to clean up and clean out” the MTA.

State Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Oyster Bay) criticized Walder’s support for the 12-county payroll tax passed by the Legislature as part of the bailout of the MTA last spring.

Marcellino said if the vote was “today, my vote would be ‘no.’”

Walder said the MTA could not operate without the tax.

He was repeatedly asked how he planned to improve MTA operations.

“I have a lot of catching up to do,” Walder said, adding he had been away from New York for more than 14 years.

Asked what he had accomplished while heading London’s transportation system, Walder mentioned expansion of bus service, installing a money-saving fare collection system and putting into operation a transit plan he said made it possible for London to be chosen for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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