New York Receives Federal Approval for Congestion Pricing Plan to Alleviate Traffic and Improve Public Transit

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New York has received crucial federal approval for its pioneering initiative to implement significant tolls for entry into Manhattan’s most heavily visited areas.

New York Receives Federal Approval for Congestion
New York Receives Federal Approval for Congestion ( Photo: Curbed NY )

The plan aims to tackle congestion, enhance air quality, and generate funds for the city’s public transportation system

Following in the footsteps of cities like London, Singapore, and Stockholm, which have successfully implemented similar tolling programs in their bustling business districts, New York City could launch the program as early as spring 2024.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, responsible for overseeing the long-delayed plan, is considering various tolling scenarios. One proposal suggests charging drivers up to $23 per day to access Manhattan below 60th Street, although the exact fee is yet to be determined. The final federal hurdle was cleared when the congestion pricing plan received approval from the Federal Highway Administration, according to a spokesperson for New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat.

Individuals traveling into Manhattan are already subject to significant tolls when using bridges and tunnels across the Hudson, East, and Harlem Rivers

The introduction of additional tolls in the southern half of Manhattan would be in addition to these existing charges. The new toll system is projected to generate annual revenue of approximately $1 billion, which will be utilized to secure loans for upgrading the city’s subway, bus, and commuter rail systems operated by the MTA.

Although the state Legislature initially approved the conceptual plan for congestion pricing in 2019, the project faced delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of guidance from federal regulators.

Notably, officials in neighboring New Jersey have strongly opposed the plan, as commuters driving into Manhattan may face exorbitant commuting costs. Taxi and car service drivers have also expressed objections, citing concerns about unaffordable fares. To address these concerns, some MTA proposals have included toll caps for taxis and other for-hire vehicles.

 

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