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MTA Chair Janno Lieber suggests congestion pricing toll will cost $15 to enter Manhattan Central Business District

MTA chair suggests congestion pricing toll could be $15
MTA chair suggests congestion pricing toll could be $15 03:08

NEW YORK -- The MTA has said it will charge anywhere from $9 to $23 to enter Manhattan's Central Business District when congestion pricing takes effect next spring. 

An MTA panel that will set the fees met Monday, but MTA Chair Janno Lieber seemed to indicate the price will fall somewhere in the middle. 

Maybe he slipped up or maybe he didn't. But when Lieber was discussing the congestion pricing fee Monday, he said "Or $15, whatever it is," which falls approximately in the middle of the range the MTA discussed. 

The exact amount didn't come up when the agency's traffic mobility panel met. But what was discussed was the fact that last week's storm made it imperative for the agency to raise $1 billion per year for capital improvements to the system. 

"We just have to look at last Friday and the impact of that terrible storm on the MTA and subway system, and on Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road as well, and recognize how much has to be done to make out system more resilient," said Carl Weisbrod, chair of the MTA Traffic Mobility Review Board. 

The panel released a report that said it hoped to:

  • Keep the toll as low as possible
  • Minimize traffic diversions
  • Prioritize equity
  • Keep the toll simple

"In this scenario, taxi, green cabs and black car customers pay a $1 per trip," said Juliette Michaelson, special advisor to the MTA Traffic Mobility Review Board

The panel evaluated a report that offered four scenarios for setting rates. It suggested:

  • A crossing credit for people who take tunnels into the Central Business District
  • Nighttime credits from 50% to 75%
  • Higher rates for trucks, depending on the size
  • Charging taxis a lower fee than for-hire vehicles

Congestion pricing is supposed to raise $1 billion a year for capital improvements to upgrade the system. But it was passed before the pandemic and before remote work reduced the number of people coming into New York City. 

"In terms of our recommendations to the MTA, we should consider recommending a larger look at this whole series of changes in our city post-pandemic," said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City. 

Weisbrod said there will be a discount for those who take the Holland, Lincoln, Queens Midtown and Brooklyn Battery tunnels. 

"Not just New Jersey riders, but people from Long Island and Brooklyn, Queens," said Weisbrod. 

The scenarios offered Monday gave crossing credits of $4 to $7, but the exact amount will depend on how many other exemptions are granted. 

Officials also want to charge the toll just once on entering the Central Business District, not on leaving. 

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