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Sources: Traffic Mobility Review Board considering congestion pricing discounts at 4 major tunnels

MTA votes to raise fares; congestion pricing tolls under discussion
MTA votes to raise fares; congestion pricing tolls under discussion 02:22

NEW YORK -- The Traffic Mobility Review Board held a public meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss congestion pricing in the city.

The board is in charge of making official recommendations to the MTA.

It did not take questions from the public. Members spent an hour or so discussing their concerns about the controversial plan to charge drivers who go below 60th Street in Midtown Manhattan.

Sources told CBS New York the members are considering recommending discounts that would be the same for all four tunnels: Holland and Lincoln to and from New Jersey, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel as well as the Brooklyn Battery. It's not clear at this point how much of a discount, but sources said it could be as much as half the original price of congestion pricing during the day.

"Whether we decide to do nothing, whether we decide to give a maximum credit or do something in between, 'cause it's, again, a lot of balancing here. I think it remains to be seen," TMRB Chair Carl Weisbrod said.

CBS New York spoke with John Samuelsen, who is one of the board members, before the meeting. He represents a vocal minority of the board that is pro-union and pro-congestion pricing, as long as it is done right.

Watch Doug Williams' report

Traffic Mobility Review Board questions MTA on congestion pricing 02:18

"We're not against the idea of congestion pricing. We're just maybe against the idea of having it done wrong," said Samuelsen, international vice president and president of Transport Workers Union Local 100. "We expect people to get out of their vehicles, and the way to get them out of their vehicles permanently is to so dramatically improve transit service that they get out of their cars and get onto transit and say, wow, this is actually a very viable alternative.

"That's not happening, and it's not going to happen because the MTA is actually not planning on increasing service dramatically," Samuelsen added.

"Congestion pricing will raise $15 billion to fund a part of the MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program," said Juliette Michaelson, MTA deputy chief of external relations.

"We've ramped back up our commitments to historical levels, so we're warding more work and getting more of this work mobilized than ever in the MTA's history before," added Tim Mulligan, MTA chief development officer.

At the next meeting, the board is expected to come up with its proposed fare structure, and to be able to answer the public's questions about who gets exemptions, peak and off-peak tolling prices, and whether trucks will be charged less overnight to avoid congestion on city streets.

There is no word on when the next TMRB meeting will take place, but depending on the timeline, we're told congestion pricing could go into effect as soon as next spring.

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