The MTA’s congestion pricing plan is once again moving forward, after the agency unexpectedly fielded more than 400 follow-up questions from federal officials in March. At a June board meeting, Chairman Janno Lieber confirmed the MTA answered all of the questions about how the environment might be impacted if it charges drivers a fee to enter Manhattan below 60th Street.
“We’ll never be able to achieve our climate or air quality goals, or truly prioritize street space for the types of vehicles that we must have – like buses, police, fire and sanitation vehicles and paratransit – until we have a system that disincentivizes private single occupancy vehicles from clogging up the central business district. Congestion pricing is the answer to that challenge,” Lieber said.
Congestion pricing was first delayed by the Trump administration, and then by the pandemic, and finally by the recent round of federal questions.
The MTA said it expects congestion pricing will go into effect by the end of 2023. The MTA’s Traffic Mobility Review board will help determine the cost of tolls and if there are any exemptions, other than the ones written into the law. Mayor Adams recently suggested low-income New Yorkers should be exempted from the tolls in some instances, such as a doctor’s appointment. The law already exempts Manhattan residents that live in the congestion zone and earn less than $60,000 a year from the charges, as well as emergency vehicles and vehicles that transport paratransit riders.