With subway issues as a backdrop, sources say Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has called a meeting of downstate Assembly Democrats to discuss the crisis on the rails and other MTA issues. The meeting is scheduled to take place Tuesday morning at 11:30am at 250 Broadway in Lower Manhattan. Prior to the meeting Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D) Bronx, who Chairs the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, which includes oversight of the MTA, will hold a press conference outside City Hall to discuss issues related to MTA bus service, which he feels has gotten shortchanged in all the discussion this summer over problems on the rails.

Recently, The Cuomo Administration floated the idea of congestion pricing 2.0. You’ll remember that the old version went down in flames in Albany back in 2008. Assembly Democrats met for hours behind closed doors that April only to eventually tell Speaker Sheldon Silver that it will fail miserably if brought to the floor. It was never voted on by members. A large part of the objection came from Democrats representing Brooklyn and Queens who could not accept new tolls on the East River crossings. They felt it would disproportionately punish middle class New Yorkers, some of whom – ahem – have few public transit options where they live and must drive frequently into Manhattan.

But today is a very different environment. For starters, as one Assembly member points out, it’s a lot of new members who may have a totally different take on congestion pricing especially if the money it raises goes toward improving mass transit. Moreover, sources say the Cuomo Administration has been signaling to Assembly members that they can do a new pricing plan that does not include East River tolls. One member says they “have heard nothing” about tolls in this plan.

Truthfully, no one has heard much of anything about this plan. That is due partially to the Cuomo team’s desire to roll it out on their terms. It’s also possible the details have not yet been finalized. After all, it is not expected to be announced until the Governor’s State of the State message in January.

So, to close the loop, Democrats will meet tomorrow. Speaker Heastie is setting the agenda for the conference. It’s unclear at this point if the Assembly will consider holding hearings on the MTA, or if the prospect of holding hearings is even on the agenda tomorrow.