Public Comment Period On Central Business District Tolling Program (NYC Congestion Pricing) Ends June 13th – If This New Tolling Affects You, Write To FHWA Today

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Central Business District Tolling Program

The Central Business District (CBD) Tolling Program would lower traffic and help MTA improve its transit system. Vehicles that enter or remain in Manhattan’s CBD would be tolled. Prior studies have shown that programs similar to the CBD Tolling Program can improve air quality. Investing in an improved mass transit system could help promote equity by providing expanded access to the system.

Project Update
On May 5, 2023, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the release of the Final EA and draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the CBD Tolling Program. The official 30-day public availability period for the Final EA and draft FONSI for the Project will be May 12, 2023 through June 12, 2023.

Read the letter from FHWA.

How the Central Business District Tolling Program Would Work
The Central Business District (CBD) Tolling Program would be the first congestion pricing program in the United States. The Environmental Assessment, which the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has said we must undertake, looks at the environmental effects of the program. Congestion pricing has helped other cities around the world and we believe it would also help the people who visit, live, or work in the New York City metropolitan region. By reducing traffic and helping improve mass transit, the CBD Tolling Program would also make it faster to travel and would improve air quality.


If the Program is approved by the Federal Highway Administration, vehicles that enter or remain in the Central Business District would be tolled. The toll would be paid using an E-ZPass. If you do not have an E-ZPass, toll bills would be mailed to the address of the registered vehicle owner and are paid using Tolls by Mail.

When and How Toll Amounts Would Be Decided
In April 2019, the state enacted the MTA Reform and Traffic Mobility Act (the Act), which states that the MTA’s Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) needs to design, develop, build, and run the Central Business District (CBD) Tolling Program. If the federal government approves the program, it can be implemented.

There are two ways that the tolls would be set:

1. The Act says the CBD Tolling Program must:

  • Charge passenger vehicles only once each day for entering or remaining in the Central Business District
  • Change the toll rates at set times or days; this is called variable tolling
  • Allow residents of the CBD making less than $60,000 to get a New York State tax credit for CBD tolls paid
  • Not toll qualifying authorized emergency vehicles and qualifying vehicles transporting people with disabilities

2. A Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB) would recommend toll rates to the MTA’s TBTA Board, which has final say on what the rates could be. The TMRB must think about many things before it could recommend toll rates, including:

    • How traffic might move
    • Air quality and pollution
    • Costs
    • Effect on the public

Safety

The Act also says the TMRB would need to recommend a plan for credits, discounts and/or exemptions for:

  • Tolls paid the same day on bridges and tunnels
  • Some types of for-hire vehicles

Once the TMRB recommends the toll rates, TBTA would then follow its process for setting tolls, which includes a public hearing. That final decision on tolls would include:

  • The toll for each type of vehicle
  • How and when the tolls would change
  • Any other credits, discounts and/or exemptions

Learn more about the program at the MTA’s project site

Banner Image: Rendering of a proposed mast arm housing tolling infrastructure and tolling system equipment over the roadway at Broadway between 60th and 61st Streets. Image Credit – NYC DOT


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NYC DOT

The New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYC DOT) mission is to provide for the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods in the City of New York and to maintain and enhance the transportation infrastructure crucial to the economic vitality and quality of life of our primary customers, City residents.

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