NEW YORK (PIX11) – The plan to charge a toll in Manhattan at 60th Street south to the Battery is known as congestion pricing.
Supporters say it will reduce traffic and help fund transit improvements. Some city leaders want more specifics on how it’s going to work.
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said he wants state and city agencies to take steps to ensure the success of the Manhattan Congestion Pricing Plan.
“Congestion pricing is on the way. We have to make sure it’s done right, fair and equitable,” Levine said.
Levine held a media briefing Wednesday at the corner of East 60th Street and Fifth Avenue.
The Manhattan Borough President’s Office convened a series of congestion pricing roundtables with “notable transit and community stakeholders.”
They discussed program design and implementation, proactive transit investments and public plans for areas and streets within the zone.
In a statement, the MTA said the program will reduce traffic, bring significant environmental benefits and provide substantial funding for capital initiatives to benefit mass transit.
“The MTA has continued to forcefully advance the congestion pricing initiative set in motion by the State. We welcome the Borough President’s support,” wrote MTA Chief External Relations John McCarthy.
A traffic mobility review board will set many of the specifics for the plan, including price and exemptions. The six-member panel has not officially been named.
It has already been decided that drivers will not pay for travel on the FDR Drive or West Side Highway. The congestion charge would be paid once a day.
The MTA conducted 19 public hearing sessions this spring. Currently, the agency is participating in the environmental review and answering questions from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
State officials have said the plan probably would not be in place until the end of 2023.
Previously, there were delays at the federal level during the Trump administration in Washington.
Exemptions have been suggested for first responders and drivers already paying a toll on a bridge or tunnel.
U.S Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) has introduced an amendment to a transportation bill with U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ).
It would prohibit federal dollars from being used to implement congestion pricing programs for any road, bridge or tunnel until an economic impact analysis is completed and distributed.
“Congestion pricing may have a number of unintended consequences on New York City residents, commuters and working-class Americans, especially at a time when we’re seeing record-high prices for gas, food and basic utilities,” Malliotakis said.
Malliotakis also introduced legislation that would give residents on either side of a tolled bridge a credit toward any congestion pricing fee to prevent double-tolling.
PIX11 News asked other borough presidents for a comment.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. said he has been a supporter of congestion pricing and its ability to generate a critical new revenue stream for the MTA, lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve street safety.
“However, it is absolutely imperative that a significant amount of revenue generated through congestion pricing be directed toward improving Queens’ aging mass transit infrastructure, as well as expanding transportation options for Queens families living in transit deserts across this borough. I will continue to work closely with our city, state and federal partners to ensure the benefits of congestion pricing are felt equitably,” Richards said.
Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said he supports Levine’s advocacy for fully implementing congesting pricing in New York City.
“We continue to see the domino effect of the ongoing increase of cars and traffic in the city, including more pollution and less safety around pedestrians. The benefits of congesting pricing are clear and it’s time to move forward,” Reynoso said.
Legislation that was approved in Albany in 2019 sets up some guidelines. It was approved by the legislature and former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Shared from PIX 11 New York