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OAN’s Roy Francis
12:35 PM – Wednesday, June 28, 2023
New York lawmakers have received approval to move forward with congestion pricing plan, which will charge drivers who are driving in certain part of the city, with the aim of reducing congestion in Manhattan, improve air quality, and raise money for the city.
The first of its kind plan was approved last week and according to reports about the environmental effect of the plan, the prices being debated are $9 to $23 at peak hours, $7 to $17 at off-peak hours, and $5 to $12 during overnight hours.
Governor Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) said that she is proud that her state is leading the way to “cleaner air, safer streets and better transit.”
“We are going to be the very first state in the nation, the very first city in America, to have a congestion pricing plan,” Hochul said on Tuesday. “Others will look at us. Other cities are paying attention. How is it going to work here? Well, we’re going to show them. We’re going to show them how you do this.”
The Federal Highway Administration gave New York the green light on Friday to move forward with the plan in order to manage congestion in the city, primarily through tolls in Manhattan.
The toll roads will reportedly cover “much” of Manhattan’s roads and the tolls will be collected though E-ZPass. For those who do not have E-ZPass, a bill will be mailed to the home of the registered vehicle.
The plan, formerly called the Central Business District Tolling Program, was introduced by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York State Department of Transportation, and the New York City Department of Transportation.
Janno Lieber, the CEO of the MTA, said that the new plan required a 4,000-page environmental assessment in order to receive federal government approval.
“They studied it to death,” Lieber said. “And we studied every intersection almost all the way to Philadelphia. And they studied the air quality, and they studied all it means, and they said that this initiative — this dramatic historic initiative — will not have a significant impact on the 28 million people in the region under federal environmental law. That’s what this means.”
Those who oppose the new plan said that it nothing more than a way for the MTA to get more money.
New Jersey Democrat Representatives Josh Gottheimer and Bill Pascrell, along with Senator Bob Menendez released a joint statement saying the plan is “nothing more than a cash grab” and that New Jersey congressional delegation was not “consulted” about the new plan.
“This is nothing more than a cash grab to fund the MTA,” the statement read. “There is no excuse for FHWA and the Department of Transportation’s failure to require New York to meaningfully engage with stakeholders across New Jersey and to not adequately consult the New Jersey congressional delegation and other elected officials.”
Governor Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) joined the representatives from his state saying that this will be just another “big tax” on commuters from his state. He blamed the Biden administration for approving the idea and has tried to negotiate with Governor Hochul, but she has refused him.
The new plan is set to go into effect in April 2024.
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