Congestion pricing

NYC Gets Green Light From Federal Gov't for Next Step in Congestion Pricing Plan

The U.S. Department of Transportation will allow New York state to proceed with the federally required Environmental Assessment and public outreach for the nation's first congestion pricing program in New York City

What to Know

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation gave the green light on a crucial next step in the plan to bring congestion pricing to New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.
  • Congestion pricing is a method in which a surcharge is added for services during peak in-demand hours.
  • The MTA stands to gain $15 billion from New York City becoming the first big city in the U.S. to implement a congestion toll to help reduce traffic, cut pollution and boost mass transit. But for that to happen, the Federal Highway Administration says it needs to make sure the plan complies with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The U.S. Department of Transportation gave the green light on a crucial next step in the plan to bring congestion pricing to New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.

"This morning we received word from the Biden Administration that the U.S. Department of Transportation will allow New York State to proceed with the federally required Environmental Assessment and public outreach for the nation's first congestion pricing program in New York City," said in a statement.

Congestion pricing is a method in which a surcharge is added for services during peak in-demand hours. Supporters say that it is a proven method that reduces traffic, enhances public transportation and improves air quality since there are less vehicles on the road. The congestion pricing proposal in New York City would manage Midtown traffic congestion using tolls.  In his statement, Cuomo said that congestion pricing "will play a critical role as New York and the nation begin to recover from the pandemic and build back stronger and better than before."

However, drivers say they already pay too much money to come into the city and they are skeptical about congestion pricing.

New York state legislators approved a conceptual plan in 2019 for the tolling system. What is at stake for about 717,000 vehicles entering Manhattan daily from anywhere south of Central Park could be around $10-15 added on to existing toll charges.

Under the proposal, local officials would charge a once-daily variable toll for vehicles entering or staying within the “Central Business District” – a designated area stretching from 60th Street in Midtown to Battery Park, according the Federal Highway Administration.

FDR Drive and West Side Highway are exempt from the congestion pricing and those who live in the congestion zone, as well as those who make less than $60,000 a year, are also expected to be exempt from the fees.

The MTA stands to gain $15 billion from New York City becoming the first big city in the U.S. to implement a congestion toll to help reduce traffic, cut pollution and boost mass transit. But for that to happen, the Federal Highway Administration says it needs to make sure the plan complies with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“The FHWA looks forward to assisting New York so we can arrive at a prompt and informed NEPA determination on this important and precedent-setting project,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “This approach will ensure that the public participates as local and state leaders explore new possibilities for reducing congestion, improving air quality and investing in transit to increase ridership.”

In his statement, Cuomo went on to say that advancing this program will prepare "the State to be globally competitive for generations to come."

"We thank President Biden and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg for advancing this important program, and we look forward to continuing to work together to further advance our nation-leading $306 billion infrastructure plan, which is preparing the State to be globally competitive for generations to come," Cuomo went on to say. "This announcement, which comes on the heels of yesterday's news that the Biden Administration has approved a plan to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind nationwide by 2030, demonstrates once again the commitment of our new partners in Washington to support our efforts to move New York in the right direction."

Copyright NBC New York
Contact Us