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MTA Approves Manhattan Toll Plan to Ease Traffic Congestion

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HI INDIA NEWS DESK

NEW YORK, NY – Congestion pricing has been approved, implementing a $15 toll for most motorists entering the heavily congested areas of Manhattan once a day.

The MTA board greenlit the toll amounts on Wednesday, set to take effect as early as June, marking the launch of the nation’s first congestion pricing program. The tolls will apply to vehicles traveling below 60th Street.

Originally endorsed by state lawmakers and then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2019, the Central Business District Tolling Program aims to generate $15 billion for transit system maintenance and expansion, while also aiming to decrease the daily influx of vehicles into the congestion zone south of 60th Street by 100,000.

“We’ve long grappled with more traffic than any other place in the United States, and now we’re taking action,” remarked MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber following Wednesday’s approval.

The approved toll rates inside the congestion zone are as follows: $15 for passenger and small commercial vehicles with a valid E-ZPass between 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, with a reduced rate of $3.75 after 9 p.m. Trucks and certain buses will face charges ranging from $24 to $36 during the day and $6 to $9 at night, depending on size. Motorcycles will be tolled at $7.50 during the day and $1.75 at night. However, exemptions will be granted to some emergency vehicles, vehicles transporting individuals with disabilities, school and commuter buses, licensed commuter vans, and select government vehicles.

Despite being codified into state law in 2019, congestion pricing encountered federal hurdles and is currently entangled in multiple lawsuits that may delay its planned mid-June implementation. The litigation has already impeded progress on planned transit upgrades, including signal enhancements and the northern expansion of the Second Avenue Subway.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey congressman and vocal congestion pricing opponent, criticized the MTA board’s decision as a mere “rubber stamp,” predicting legal battles and public backlash.

Legal proceedings, including a lawsuit filed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, are slated to resume in June. Unless a judge rules against the MTA, tolling scanners at congestion zone entrances will be activated.

Lisa Daglian, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, dismissed the legal challenges as “baseless last-resort lawsuits,” asserting that congestion pricing will proceed as planned.

 

 

 

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