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MTA panel expected to recommend $15 congestion pricing toll

A key MTA panel is expected to recommend a $15 congestion pricing toll for drivers who enter Manhattan below 60th Street during most hours of the day, according to two people who reviewed the plan on Wednesday.

The plan is to be presented by the Traffic Mobility Review Board, a group that’s required by state law to recommend the pricing structure for the tolls. The MTA board is expected to approve the prices during its meeting next week — and the agency expects to begin charging the tolls in mid-2024.

Sources described key aspects of the tolling scheme, such as:

  • A $15 fee on passenger vehicles from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • A 75% discount during the overnight hours, putting the after-hours toll $3.75.
  • A $24 toll for smaller trucks, such as box trucks.
  • A $36 toll for large trucks, like big rigs.
  • Yellow and green taxis will receive an additional $1.25 surcharge.
  • For-hire vehicles like Uber and Lyft will receive an additional $2.50 surcharge.
  • Both taxis and app-based for-hire vehicles like Uber and Lyft are expected to pass the cost of the tolls to passengers.

An MTA spokesperson declined to comment.

Under a 2019 state law approving the congestion pricing scheme, drivers who remain on the West Side Highway or FDR Drive will not have to pay the tolls. Drivers who earn less than $60,000 and live in the congestion zone are required to receive a tax credit against the tolls. And emergency vehicles are exempt from the charges.

Congestion pricing is required by law to generate $1 billion a year, which must be used by the MTA to finance $15 billion worth of upgrades to mass transit infrastructure.

MTA officials initially planned to launch the tolls in early 2021. But transit leaders said the program was pushed back due to the federal government’s slow approval process.

A pair of federal lawsuits filed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich are ongoing and threaten to further delay the program.

Danny Pearlstein, policy and communications director at Riders Alliance, applauded the news on Wednesday night.

“Congestion pricing will be a win-win-win for transit, traffic and air quality,” he said in an emailed statement. “Riders have organized for years to make it a reality and we eagerly await its implementation.”

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