Drivers traveling to certain parts of Manhattan could soon have to pay a lot of fees before getting in. New York state lawmakers approved a congestion pricing plan in 2019, but the city hasn’t implemented it yet. However, that may not happen in late 2023 or early 2024 as the latest proposals are nearing final approval.
Political controversy delayed the program from starting last year, but now the program is nearing final approval from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. One of the program elements that still needs to be finalized is the actual price. The MTA publishes an Environmental Assessment (here’s: Business plan summary) this month, and lists possible prices from $9 to $23 during peak hours. Commercial trucks can cost up to $82.
Prices depend on vehicle type and timing, and costs are expected to generate $1 billion in public transportation annually, according to New York Time. The MTA faces a deficit, and the program is designed to raise money for various infrastructure projects and upgrades. The coronavirus pandemic is hurting passengers and revenue.
The final price may arrive alongside the exclusion list. Persons with disabilities with vehicles, official emergency vehicles and non-commercial passenger vehicles may follow different rules. The program also hopes to reduce traffic and pollution in the city.
Currently, MTA is receive public comments on its Environmental Assessment until August 31. Once that is done, leaders will decide on the official price before the MTA board gives final approval. The new toll district covers most of Manhattan, encompassing everything south of Central Park, and it will affect commuters from New Jersey and other boroughs of the city.
This is not the first time that congestion tariffs, or tolls, have been proposed. It was proposed in one fashion in 1933, but opposition from the citizens thwarted the idea. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a similar proposal in 2008, but it didn’t pass. The 2015 plan also failed to gain legislative support, but the idea is not lost.
New York City will be the first US city with congestion tariffs if the MTA approves and implements the program. London, Singapore and others have congestion rates.