The knives are out for congestion pricing as opponents — and even some supporters — of the upcoming toll on driving in Manhattan seek carveouts.
State Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, who represents parts of Rockland County, testified at a virtual public hearing held by the MTA Monday that he wants his constituents cut out of having to pay the toll.
“Charging our drivers thousands more a year just to get to their jobs in the city without quick and easy transit alternatives would be worse than useless for reducing congestion from our part of the Metro-North region,” Reichlin-Melnick said.
What You Need To Know
Exemptions for motorcycles, coach buses and yellow taxis were suggested a virtual MTA public hearing
Drivers could pay as much as $23 to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street under different congestion pricing scenarios studied
The MTA plans to start charging drivers by early 2024
While Brooklyn Assemblyman Robert Carroll backs congestion pricing, he suggested a break for yellow taxi drivers, who already must charge passengers an MTA congestion fee for trips in Manhattan below 96th Street.
“Consideration should be given to the fact that yellow cabs have already paid millions to the city for medallions,” Carroll said. “And their numbers are capped and therefore they should possibly receive some sort of exemption.”
A panel is going to determine the exact price of the toll and who, if anyone, should be exempt from the toll. MTA officials have said the more exemptions, the greater the toll price would be, in order to meet the goals of reducing traffic and raising money.
Patrick Condren of the Bus4NYC Coalition testified in support of MTA tolling scenarios that would exempt large buses like intercity commuter buses and airport buses.
“Many cities, including Stockholm, London and Singapore, who have congestion pricing treat all buses with parity and exempt all buses from congestion pricing tolls,” Condren said.
Congestion pricing supporters who are against any new exemptions for drivers also testified.
MTA officials plan to start tolling drivers by early 2024.