New York Gets Go-Ahead On Plan To Charge Congestion Tolls

(Ryan DeBerardinis/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

New York received a key approval Tuesday to move ahead on a long-delayed plan to charge motorists an additional toll to enter Manhattan’s core, a move aimed at reducing congestion and raising money for public transit systems.

If the plan is implemented, New York would become the first U.S. city to use so-called congestion pricing – following in the footsteps of London, Singapore, Stockholm and other cities.

New York would use the revenue, estimated at about $1 billion annually, to issue bonds to fund $15 billion in capital improvements over the next four years to refurbish an aging and underfunded subway and bus system whose revenues have plunged during the pandemic.

The state Legislature approved a conceptual plan for congestion pricing two years ago and it was initially projected to be in place by early this year.

But the pandemic and a lack of guidance from federal regulators on the type of environmental review that was required combined to stall the project.

In a letter Tuesday, the Federal Highway Administration notified local officials that an environmental assessment will be required that will include a public comment period.

Environmental assessments are less time-consuming than environmental impact statements normally required of large infrastructure projects, the highway administration wrote Tuesday, providing no significant environmental impacts are identified.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called Tuesday’s development “long overdue.”

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said in a statement, “It’s more important than ever that our region has a strong and robust MTA to help power the economic recovery from this unprecedented crisis, and as traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels we must tackle congestion.”

Numerous details still need to be finalized, including the price of tolls, how they’re collected and which vehicles might be exempted or receive discounts.

The tolls are expected to be levied in an area from the southern border of Central Park to Battery Park at the bottom of Manhattan. Several hundred thousand vehicles per day entered that section of Manhattan during pre-pandemic times, a city study estimated.

The plan has drawn some opposition, notably from lawmakers representing New Jersey, where residents driving into New York already pay as much as $16 in cash to cross the Hudson River.

“Thousands of Jersey drivers from my district, who commute every day, will face a new congestion tax of about $3,000 a year,” Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer said Tuesday. “That’s a joke. This is absurd double taxation at its finest, and it’s absolutely ridiculous.”



  1. Good Job De Blasio! Leaving your everlasting mark on the city to model it after your mentor Dinkins. All his great ideas will be effective at chasing more people away from the city.

    Keep pricing the average person out of NYC until only the indigent and rich liberals are left and New York becomes the new San Francisco of the East Coast.

  2. Most complainers either don’t live in the NYC area or don’t understand what’s going on. Living here these days means spending hundreds of hours a year in congested traffic, meaning more wear on your car, more accidents, and of course tons of wasted time. No one that lives here denies that the situation is bad. These congestion toll programs are extremely successful in London, Singapore, etc and significantly reduce the number of hours that YOU waste in traffic, wasted gas, everything. Even parking is so much easier if the total number of cars is reduced by even just 10%. Just think how many hours have you lost this year looking for parking while going to minyan. These programs really work! When they design them, they work hard to make sure they are fair to people that live there, work there, etc, even while they also encourage people to drive less (carpool, public transportation, etc) making life better for everyone. Give this a chance! And get involved so you can help make sure the program works best for us!!

  3. The first 4 comments lack one major bit of information (which I also lack): What will the congestion pricing do for traffic in congested areas of midtown Manhattan. If the plan succeeds in reducing the congestion, and/or raising revenue for mass transit improvements, which are badly needed, I would consider congestion pricing successful.

  4. “What will the congestion pricing do for traffic in congested areas of midtown Manhattan”.
    Huju: Create opportunities for more bike lanes?? Also, if successful, the same type of congestion pricing can be implemented in the congested areas of BP and Willy.