Details released on additional tolls for New York drivers
NEW YORK (AP) — Drivers entering the heart of New York would pay an additional $9 to $23 as early as the end of next year as part of a plan to ease traffic congestion in the nation’s most congested city.
Details of the plan, known as congestion pricing, were included in an environmental assessment released Wednesday as part of the federal regulatory process. The tolls are not expected to go into effect until late next year at the earliest, and would be the first of their kind used in the United States. Other cities, including London, Stockholm and Singapore, have used similar plans.
Drivers entering Manhattan south of 60th Street would be billed electronically. According to the EA, travel speeds in Manhattan’s central business district decreased by 22%, to an average of about 7 mph, between 2010 and 2019, and drivers experience an estimated 102 hours as a result. travel time lost per year. The speed of local buses has decreased by 28%.
Revenue from the tolls, which is expected to be about $1 billion a year, will be used to fund loans to upgrade the city’s transit systems.
While the fee structure – which will likely include a maze of discounts and exemptions – will be finalized by a six-person board, Wednesday’s report offered several scenarios outlining how much drivers could pay.
Tolls would be higher during peak times in general, but the scenarios listed on Wednesday offered varying rates depending on a few factors — primarily, discounts given to drivers already paying tolls at bridges and tunnels entering Manhattan, and there is a cap on the number of times a car or truck can be tolled in a day.
For example, tolls would peak at $23 in a scenario in which cars, trucks, taxis and rental vehicles were capped at one toll per day and drivers already paying tolls at seven bridges and tunnels to Manhattan would receive credits; conversely, tolls would reach $9 in a scenario in which taxis, rental vehicles and trucks would have no cap on how often they could be charged and drivers at the seven crossings would only receive no credits.
Only one of the seven scenarios includes a credit for drivers crossing the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey into upper Manhattan. Several New Jersey lawmakers strongly criticized the toll plan as an unfair tax on New Jersey residents traveling to New York City, since no money would go to public transit in New Jersey.
On Tuesday, Democratic U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer and state lawmakers introduced a bill to encourage New York companies to open new offices in New Jersey for employees based there.
Manhattan residents who live in the toll zone and earn less than $60,000 a year would be eligible for a tax credit to cover the cost of the tolls they pay, under the current proposal.
Wednesday’s report acknowledged that rental vehicle drivers — whose numbers tripled in Manhattan between 2010 and 2019, to 120,000 — will be affected even if customers are responsible for paying the toll, as expected. If the final plan calls for them to be charged more than once per day, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would waive fees for drivers who wish to work for the MTA or its affiliated vendors.
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