Mayor Eric Adams named the head of the Transport Workers Union of America to the board tasked with setting congestion pricing tolls and discounts Monday.
John Samuelsen was elected president of the 150,000-member union of transit workers in 2017 and previously served as the boss of the New York local, the union’s largest. He will join five other members appointed last week to the Traffic Mobility Review Board by the MTA.
“My appointment to the TMRB is an historic recognition by Mayor Adams of the importance of MTA workers as the second biggest stakeholder in our nation’s largest transportation system,” Samuelsen said in a release. “Workers will now have a voice in the implementation of this important plan.”
Once congestion pricing clears its final hurdles, the board will be tasked with recommending tolls, discounts, and exemptions for congestion pricing.
The pricing plan intended to reduce congestion in Manhattan below 60th Street and generate funds for the MTA's capital projects was first approved by the state legislature in 2019, but delays have hampered its implementation since. In June, Hochul said she was “rather certain” the program would not begin “before the end of the year.”
“John Samuelsen is a champion of safe, reliable public transit, and he shares my commitment to getting congestion pricing done so we can invest in mass transit and reduce traffic,” Adams said in a release Monday. “I am encouraged to see this process moving forward, and my administration will continue to work closely with our partners at the MTA, in Albany, and in Washington, DC to get this done for all New Yorkers.”
The other members of the six-member board include former de Blasio administration official Carl Weisbrod, Real Estate Board of New York president emeritus and Con Edison veteran John Banks, real estate developer and former Port Authority executive Scott Rechler, construction executive and MTA board member Elizabeth Velez, and Kathryn Wylde, the president of Partnership for New York City — a nonprofit coalition of hundreds of NYC-based CEOs.
Weisbrod will serve as the chair of the panel.
The MTA’s environmental assessment of congestion pricing will be released later this month, officials said last week. The Federal Highway Administration must then approve the agency’s findings before the program can begin. Six virtual hearings for public feedback will begin be held in late August:
- Thursday, Aug. 25, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Saturday, Aug. 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 28, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Monday, Aug. 29, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, Aug. 30, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Wednesday, Aug. 31, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Members of the public can also submit comments on the MTA’s website.