New York City Drivers to Face Additional Tolls as Part of Congestion Reduction Efforts

Jun 28, 2023 00:53 WIB
New York City Drivers to Face Additional Tolls as Part of Congestion Reduction Efforts
FILE - The sun sets behind the New York skyline, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, as seen from Calvary Cemetery. New York will move forward with its first-in-the-nation plan to charge drivers extra in tolls to enter the core of New York City, part of an effort to reduce congestion, improve air quality and raise funds for the city's public transit system. The program is expected to begin in spring of 2024. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

New York City has received crucial federal approval for its groundbreaking plan to implement tolls for vehicles entering highly congested areas of Manhattan. This initiative aims to combat traffic congestion, improve air quality, and generate funds for the city’s public transit system.

The program is set to launch as early as spring 2024, aligning New York City with global counterparts such as London, Singapore, and Stockholm, which have successfully implemented similar tolling programs in densely populated business districts.

Several tolling scenarios are being considered, with drivers potentially facing charges of up to $23 per day to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street. The exact toll amounts will be determined by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the organization responsible for overseeing this long-awaited plan.

The congestion pricing proposal cleared its final federal hurdle with approval from the Federal Highway Administration, according to a spokesperson for New York Governor Kathy Hochul.

“With the green light from the federal government, we are eager to proceed with the implementation of this program,” stated Governor Hochul, a Democrat.

Currently, commuters already pay significant tolls to utilize bridges and tunnels spanning the Hudson, East, and Harlem Rivers. The additional tolls for entering the southern half of Manhattan will be in addition to these existing charges.

The introduction of these new tolls is expected to generate approximately $1 billion annually. These funds will be allocated towards improving the subway, bus, and commuter rail systems operated by the MTA through borrowing.

The state Legislature initially approved a conceptual plan for congestion pricing in 2019. However, the project faced delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of guidance from federal regulators.

Officials in neighboring New Jersey have expressed strong opposition to the plan, as commuters traveling to Manhattan by car may face substantial increases in commuting costs. Taxi and car service drivers have also raised concerns, citing potential affordability issues for passengers. To address these concerns, some MTA proposals have included toll caps for taxis and other for-hire vehicles.

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