Report Reveals Possible $23 Manhattan Congestion Toll
An environmental assessment report on the viability of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) plan to battle congestion in Manhattan was published on Wednesday, August 10th.
The MTA said the proposed congestion plan would impact the city in various ways including economically, environmentally, and in terms of how the transit system operates.
The plan will include electronically charging motorists entering Manhattan below 60th Street. According to reports, the plan will bring in revenues of around $1 billion annually. The revenue is proposed to be used for improving the MTA’s transit system.
The congestion pricing will reportedly be in the range of $9 to $23. The peak hours will be 6 am to 8 pm during the week and 10 am to 10 pm during the weekend.
According to the MTA, the plan is expected to reduce traffic and congestion in the Manhattan area. Trip times, along with energy consumption levels, would be reduced and economic productivity would increase.
However, the reduction of traffic in one area of the city would likely increase it in another area or other boroughs. Areas that might be affected include the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.
An infrastructure expert said the number of trucks on the Cross Bronx Expressway would increase.
The environmental benefits include a reduction in pollution of 11% which will be seen in midtown and lower Manhattan. Upper Manhattan will see a reduction of 9%. Pollution would increase in certain areas as well, by about 2%. The study further predicted that MTA bus and subway ridership would increase as well.
“Bottom line: this is good for the environment, good for public transit, and good for New York and the region. We look forward to receiving public feedback in the weeks ahead,” Janno Lieber, Chair and CEO of MTA said.
Still on Manhattan Congestion Toll…
MTA Communication Director Tim Minton called the move beneficial for the entire region. “The value of congestion pricing is clear: Less traffic, reduced pollution, and more reliable mass transit for the vast majority of commuters, including those in New Jersey, who take trains and buses to Manhattan,” Minton said.
The plan received some criticism from some quarters. The study found that congestion pricing would adversely affect low-income drivers as well as people who drive taxis.
“Congestion pricing is a horrible idea that will create new economic pain for hard-working New Yorkers. Life in New York is difficult enough for so many as is. Historic inflation, skyrocketing energy costs, and more have left everyday New Yorkers pinching pennies,” he said. “Now, politicians and bureaucrats want to jam up New Yorkers with a whole new scheme to rip more money out of New Yorkers’ wallets, grabbing another $1 billion out of the pockets of New Yorkers who can’t afford it,” said New York Rep. Lee Zeldin.
The congestion pricing is only expected to be implemented in late 2023. It was initially meant to be applied in 2021 but those plans were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The public still has a chance to have their voice heard at public hearings that will be held from Thursday, August 25th until August 31st.
“This process is not finished, there’s still time for public input,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. “We just have to make sure we have money for the MTA. If my political opponent would rather raise taxes on New Yorkers or shut down the subway — I’m not sure what his alternatives are,” the governor said.