New York

How do congestion charges work?What you need to know about the pricing system for using Manhattan

As people Return slowly Manhattan Commercial Center and Climate Change Continues Hit the city in the intestines, Promotion of so-called congestion charge setting to reduce traffic-related emissions is gaining momentum.

This idea has been kicked by politicians and transport advocates for years, but has never been tried anywhere in the United States.The bill from Albany gave a green light to New York’s plans 2019, But lack of action by the Federal Highway Authority under then-President Donald Trump Delayed the program..

Now as traffic Rapid increase again, An important player in the concept, the new governor of New York, Kathy Hokuru, Signaled her full support For ideas. The Biden administration is also behind it. So is Mayor Bill de Blasio, a potential fan.

And from late September, the MTA will begin a series of hearings, including an environmental review that could be the final hurdle to the plan.

Janno Lieber, the new chairman and CEO of the MTA, said at the MTA board meeting Wednesday that transportation was “around the corner” of the plan.

“We are now really working on this public review process at 100 mph, forgiving puns, which opens the door to the implementation of congestion rates,” he said.

If you need to understand what this means, who it affects, and what congestion rates may actually appear in New York, check out this guide.

What is the congestion fee?

Think of it like a toll for a riverless bridge or tunnel.

Idea: Charge people for driving in a particular location. That fare, in theory, could discourage some drivers from getting on the road and reduce overall traffic.

NS Primer The US Department of Transportation calls the pricing scheme “a way to harness the power of the market to reduce the waste associated with traffic congestion.”

What does the Manhattan congestion fee look like? And how much does it cost me?

City congestion fee system — “Central business district toll collection program, “Or CBDTP by MTA — Affects all roads and roads south of 60th Avenue, with three exceptions.

  • FDR drive
  • West side highway
  • Battery Park Underpass and Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn-Battery) Tunnel Section Connecting FDR Drive to West Side Highway

Is here A map of what it looks like, Via MTA:

Via MTA

How much does the driver cost?

The exact price of the price has not been set. However, previous proposals offered $ 12 to $ 14 per vehicle and $ 25 for trucks, cities, and states. report.. (By comparison, London’s congestion rates are just over £ 15 or $ 20.)

According to the MTA, tolls are paid via E-ZPass or by mail to those who do not have E-ZPass.

NS 2019 law passed in Albany Giving the program a green light says that passenger cars should only be charged once a day. You can also set “variable charges,” that is, charges that change at specific times of the day or on different days of the week, depending on your traffic.

Queens Midtown Tunnel Traffic
Jason Scott Jones / THE CITY

How does the system track it all? I don’t know exactly yet.

However, according to the agency’s Request for Proposal, prepared in July 2019, what authorities have to say to TransCore, a Tennessee-based company that the MTA has signed a contract to build a congestion fee system in New York. You can get a glimpse of what you are looking for.

THE CITY has obtained 3,022 pages of documentation ( Read it completely here(Dare) Through the request of the Information Disclosure Law of the source. Here are some highlights:

  • The system must be able to detect and identify “vehicles entering the CBD” or the central business district below 60th Avenue, by class and size.
  • In order to be able to read the license plate and identify the vehicle, it is necessary to incorporate “optical character recognition” technology.
  • Transcore needs to ensure that all physical parts of the toll system, such as utility poles and billboards, minimize interference with “public line of sight, view corridors, open spaces.” Companies should use existing infrastructure as much as possible and avoid installing equipment in front of landmarks.
  • Contractors are responsible for minimizing the horizontal plane of the new “pigeon-sensitive” tariff system.

Why do you do this? What will New Yorkers get from it?

$ 15 billion.

This is the amount required by the state legislature for the MTA and must be raised through dense pricing. Leverage annual revenues to borrow $ 15 billion into transportation’s current five-year capital program.

Its cash goal is set for 2019 MTA reform and transportation law, Allowed the program to continue.

Rachel Faus, Senior Research Analyst at Advocacy Group Reinvent Albany, said: The money, in turn, will fund the high-value commodities and infrastructure projects needed for transportation systems.

But money isn’t the only reason to set congestion rates, supporters say.

A more environmentally friendly goal is to reduce traffic. This can speed up the ride of people still on the road while reducing vehicle air and noise pollution.In promoting congestion tariff setting, MTA Federal study Increased traffic elsewhere in the world, both in London and Stockholm, found a double-digit reduction in carbon dioxide emissions after these cities adopted this policy.

“We are facing an existential crisis, so we really have to challenge to make a big difference,” said Renae Reynolds, secretary-general of the Tristate Transport Campaign. Mentioned recent extreme weather events. “When we are facing the ebb and flow of the tide, competing for the price of congestion charges is not fostering for any of us.”

Who actually needs to pay in the crowded zone?

The 2019 Congestion Fares Act passed by Albany now applies tolls to all vehicles, trucks and vehicles in the zone except for the following three categories:

  • Emergency vehicle
  • Vehicles that transport people with disabilities
  • A family-owned vehicle that lives in Manhattan’s congestion fare zone and has a household income of $ 60,000 or less per year. (Toll costs will be refunded as a tax credit.)

According to Riders Alliance Policy and Communications Director Danny Pearlstein, other exemptions were added to the mix by a traffic mobility review board that hasn’t been created yet (more on that later), and finally by an MTA board before congestion pricing. You may hit the road.

TMRB may also decide whether to create special rules for rental vehicles. Already charged to drive south of 96th Avenue In Manhattan, yellow taxis ($ 2.50 per ride) and app-based taxis like Uber and Lyft ($ 2.75 per ride) are included.

Leaders around the tri-state area are seeking loopholes in tolls.

Queens Senator David Wepurin, a longtime opponent of the toll collection plan, said Zero tolls for New Yorkers, And police union leader Patrick Lynch called There is no toll to law enforcement Employees driving to work. New Jersey Legislature recently Block federal funding to New York If a Garden State driver is subject to a congestion fee.

Transportation will take you to Manhattan's 10th Avenue on July 23, 2021.

Transportation will take you to Manhattan’s 10th Avenue on July 23, 2021.
Hiram Alejandro Durand / THE CITY

Too much tax exemption can defeat the purpose of the system, Pearlstein said.

“The law requires the MTA to raise a certain amount, which means that if you don’t raise for one group, you need to raise more from another,” he said. “The fairest thing is to have a robust program that treats as many people as possible in the same way. Except for these small categories, no one claims to drive them into the central business district more than anyone else. . “

Congestion skeptics, including De Blasio, have knocked out tolls as a regressive tax, a fee that can hurt the poor, who make up the majority of their income.But this is a bit complicated Report from City Limits I will explain.

Where did the congestion fee come from?

Congestion charges are implemented in several major cities, including London, Stockholm and Singapore. But the idea was born in New York.

The crowded father was William Vickrey, a Columbia University economist who won the Nobel Prize and proposed the concept of charging drivers to reduce traffic in 1959. according to New York Times.

It has been talked about many times in the city for decades. In response to federal pressure on air quality standards in the 1970s, Mayors John Lindsay and Ed Koch made various attempts. Traffic bans and tolls During their control.

Michael bloomberg

Then, in December 2011, Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Christen Alz / New York Mayor’s Office

Mayor Mike Bloomberg proposed the city’s own congestion tariff system in 2007, but Albany lawmakers said Crushed it a year later..

As outlined in the 2019 Act, the current system is the result of pressure from the government at the time.Andrew Cuomo who later requested a congestion fee system Neglect for years About ideas. The change in his mind is the “change of mind” of the transportation system.Hell summer2017 and ongoing budget issues.

What do you need before you see this on the street? And when will it come into effect?

Beginning in late September, the MTA will begin hearings as part of a 16-month environmental assessment period. Get more information on how to comment and attend one of these meetings. here..

At the MTA’s Wednesday board meeting, the agency announced details of its environmental review program. Outreach In 28 counties in three states, including Connecticut and New Jersey, and in “five tribal nations.”

As a result of the evaluation, if the congestion system does not have a significant impact and the federal government approves, the project can proceed to the difficult part. That is, determine the final list of people who will be charged, the costs, and all the mechanics. You will be charged and maintained.

The work will be done by the unformed Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB), which consists of six people, five from the MTA and one from the mayor. (Blasio has already chosen his TMRB representative, Finance Commission Commissioner Sheriff SolimanHowever, the next mayor may replace him. All six slots are effectively in the air. )

Transportation Commission recommendations will be sent to the MTA Commission for final approval. Also, because MTA committees are usually governed by the governor, much of the authority over the final implementation of congestion charges rests with Albany’s top dogs.

Governor Kathy Hokul was elected Lieutenant Governor of New York by Rev. Al Sharpton and Hazel Nell Dukes outside of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Building in Harlem, New York Senate. We will officially announce the members.

Governor Kathy Hochul
Hiram Alejandro Durán / THE CITY

“I have hope for Hochul,” Reynolds said. “Things are moving slowly, but the ball is rolling.”

Of course, Hochul may not be the governor whenever congestion charges see the light of day. MTA Longer environmental review period From the Federal Highway Authority Said it was necessary, Promote possible implementation of congestion pricing until after the 2022 governor’s election.

Therefore, it may take a few more years for New Yorkers to see road tolls in force in central Manhattan at the earliest. And it forbids certain proceedings, Pearlstein said.

“Someone will sue,” he said. “If they complain when the system is about to turn on, it could add months. It could add years.”



How do congestion charges work?What you need to know about the pricing system for using Manhattan

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