MTA accepting final comments on congestion pricing plan

The Gothamist, Stephen Nessen, Dec 27, 2023

The MTA is accepting comments on the final recommendations for congestion pricing for one last time.

In December, the MTA board signed off on a tolling structure that includes charging drivers a base rate of $15 to enter Manhattan below 60th Street between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays, and $3.75 during overnight hours.

The board also agreed that drivers of small trucks should pay $24, while those of larger ones should pay $36.

State law requires the transit agency, which is overseeing congestion pricing, to hold a final round of public hearings before the tolls go into effect.

Right now, the MTA is accepting comments online, by email, regular mail, fax and even voicemail.

Hearings will be held online as well as at the MTA’s headquarters in the Financial District.

The Traffic Mobility Review Board, the advisory body responsible for recommending a fee structure, determined yellow taxi drivers should pay $1.25 per trip on top of the $2.50 congestion charge they have been paying since 2019.

The board also determined that drivers for ride-hailing apps, including Uber and Lyft, should pay an additional $2.50 for every trip made in the toll zone, beyond the $2.75 they currently pay.

Both yellow taxi drivers and ride-hailing app companies have opposed the new congestion pricing tolls.

MTA Chair Janno Lieber has said he’s sympathetic to the city’s yellow taxi drivers, whose industry has been in turmoil since ride-hailing apps arrived, but doesn’t think the fees should be changed.

Lieber said the fee structure is set to reduce traffic in the city and raise $1 billion a year for the MTA. Any alteration to the structure could affect one of those goals, according to the MTA chair.

“We’re going to continue to look at the yellow cab issue, but it is one of those things when you change any aspect, because there’s so many trips generated, that it does have these knock-on effects,” he said at an MTA board meeting in December. “There’s a really complex calculus if you change anything.”

Read More: The Gothamist