Congestion pricing plan faces multiple lawsuits

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, by an 11-1 vote on Wednesday (March 27), approved a $15 daily toll for lower Manhattan that faces multiple federal lawsuits from New York and New Jersey. 

Under the MTA’s first-in-the-nation congestion pricing plan, passenger and small commercial vehicles entering Manhattan below 60th Street will pay $15 during the day and $3.75 at night. Trucks and some buses will pay higher tolls, $24 to $36 during the day depending on their size, and $6 to $9 at night. 

The plan includes various discounts and credits for low-income drivers and people who pay tunnel tolls and exemptions for government vehicles and people with disabilities. The MTA says the toll will reduce congestion and air pollution and raise $1 billion yearly for capital projects. 

“We think it’s innovative and we think it’s necessary,” said Neal Zuckerman, a Garrison resident who represents Putnam County on the MTA board and chairs its finance committee. “The reality is, this is the greatest city on Earth, it’s expensive to run and it needs many sources of funding.” 

The MTA hopes to start charging drivers in June but is facing lawsuits from New Jersey officials, who predict the plan will increase air pollution; Hudson Valley officials, who say it is unfair to commuters; residents of lower Manhattan; and New York City teachers. 

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