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NYC's congestion pricing plan faces another lawsuit. Here's why truckers say it violates the Constitution.

Trucking Association of New York wants to stop congestion pricing
Trucking Association of New York wants to stop congestion pricing 02:33

NEW YORK - Congestion pricing in New York City faces another potential roadblock. 

The Trucking Association of New York (TANY) filed a lawsuit Thursday against the MTA, TBTA, and Attorney General Letitia James against the program, which it calls in the suit a "scheme for which there is no prior precedent in this country."

Truckers allege congestion pricing violates the Constitution

TANY alleges that congestion pricing violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution which grants Congress the power "to regulate Commerce... among the several States." The lawsuit alleges that truckers have to travel between states to deliver goods to New York City, and congestion pricing "imposes a financial burden on TANY trucks which is not a fair approximation of their use of the Central Business District," as well as "a financial burden on TANY trucks which is excessive in relation to the benefit conferred upon them." 

TANY further alleges congestion pricing violates the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, saying "it is preempted by federal statute." TANY cites the Federal Aviation Act of 1994, which it says "sets forth that a State may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to prices, routes, or services of motor carriers with respect to the transportation of property."

"Any state regulation that interferes with a motor carrier's rates, routes, services in this way is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act," said Brian Carr, an attorney for TANY.

The MTA refused to comment on the suit, but it made a motion to have the suit sent to the same federal judge in Manhattan who has held hearings on five other suits challenging the program.

Truckers say congestion pricing fare structure is unfair

The industry, which moves 90% of the goods that enter the city, is also attacking the fare structure. Cars are charged $15 once a day, no matter how many times they come and go from the congestion zone. Trucks by $24 or $36 depending on the size of the vehicle, and they have to pay every time they enter the zone.

"This is unfair to the trucking industry and the businesses that rely on us ... It charges us more than passenger vehicles, and it charges us every time we go into the zone, and we are non-discretionary travel. We have to make those deliveries at the time that our customers demand it," said Zach Miller, director of Metro Region Operations for TANY.

Proponents say the trucking industry will actually benefit because less congestion means faster deliveries.

"They will be able to do the same trip in less time. They will be able to do more trips per shift, and they also will distribute the costs among their customers," said Rachel Weinberger, with the Regional Plan Association.

Congesting pricing set to begin in NYC in June

New York City's congestion pricing program is set to launch on June 30, if it is not stopped or delayed by various lawsuits, including ones from officials in New Jersey and on Long Island, as well as small business owners in New York City. The MTA said it had no comment about TANY's lawsuit. 

Under congestion pricing, trucks entering what the MTA is calling the Congestion Relief Zone will have to pay either $24 or $36 from 5 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday or $6 or $9 overnight. Those prices are if the trucks are using an E-ZPass.  

The MTA says congestion pricing is needed not only to ease traffic in New York City, but also to fund long-sought improvements to mass transit, such as an upgraded subway signal system. The upgraded signal system will enable more trains to run much closer, easing crowds on subways, the MTA says.

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