MTA Board, NYC, traffic, congestion

NYC MTA Board Approves Manhattan’s Controversial Congestion Toll, Charging Commuters $15

Cars will be charged $15 and motorcycles will have to pay $7.50.

Things are about to get hectic in New York City. CBS News reports that the MTA Board gave the thumbs up to a proposal to charge commuters to drive into Manhattan’s Central Business District. With a vote of 9 to 1, the board approved the Traffic Mobility Review Board’s recommendations, charging commuting workers high fees to drive into Manhattan below 60th Street. The new charge is added on top of what several commuters from outside suburban neighborhoods have to pay. Cars will be charged $15, and motorcycles will have to pay $7.50. The price goes up for those driving trucks, with small ones being asked to pay $24 and big trucks looking at a charge of $36.

The only leader to issue a “no” vote was David Mack of Long Island’s Nassau County, as he feels there are other ways to go about it. “I cannot vote for it. Maybe there’s other ways — tolls, federal government, other subsidies, other taxes,” Mack said. “I just think that this is just an added burden.”

Some board members have their eye on NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ requested exemptions — like people coming into the city for medical appointments, school buses, and cab drivers. Those who take cabs would be forced to pay an additional $1.25. Board member David Jones feels exemptions are necessary, particularly for the school systems. “I think it’s essential to provide some exemption, particularly those with public school children,” Jones said. “I don’t want to add another burden to the public education system and the charter schools.”

Cars will only be charged once per day and won’t face exit charges, according to Commuters who live on a lower income qualify for a 50% discount if they register with the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. Chair and CEO of the MTA, Janno Lieber, described the plan as “essential to the city’s future” on an economic level. “This is that rare moment when business and environmentalists actually come together,” Lieber said.

“They’re frequently at loggerheads, they’re frequently at each other’s throats even, and on this issue, they’ve come together because there is a consensus that has developed.”

The approval will go through a 60-day public comment period, and to date, MTA has already held close to 25 public outreach events and hearings, responding to 70,000 comments from residents. Lieber says the board is “taking the public comment process very seriously,” but doesn’t believe any changes will occur.

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