Transit Group’s New Congestion Pricing Toll Plan Gaining Support

February 18, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

A transit group led by former city traffic commissioner Samuel I. Schwartz on Tuesday proposed a congestion-based toll system that, if implemented, would drastically change the city’s current traffic, reports the New York Times. The proposal, which comes from MoveNY, seeks to create tolls on high-traffic bridges and roadways that lead to Manhattan’s central business district, while decreasing heavy tolls on lower-traffic outer borough bridges like the Bronx Whitestone Bridge and the Throgs Neck Bridge. The plan also calls for adding tolls “on every avenue crossing Manhattan at 60th Street, including the West Side Highway and FDR Drive.”

MoveNY’s plan is to “higher tolls where transit options are most available and lower tolls where transit is either not available or a less viable option,” according to the report. This “results in pricing all vehicle trips south of 60th Street into or out of the CBD but lowers the price of all trips with non-CBD origins or destinations.”

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This is not the first time New York legislators are being asked to consider a congestion pricing model for roadways, but Capital explains that Schwartz’s plan is gaining traction where the previous proposal failed. This is because the plan, which aims to reduce city traffic and close the MTA’s $15 billion gap, will also lower tolls for the outer boroughs and “put a good bit of funding toward roads and bridges.”

So far, MoveNY has “the tentative support of the Automobile Club of New York and the New York State Motor Truck Association, both of which opposed Bloomberg’s plan, and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, which didn’t take a position last time around,” Capital reports. Queens councilman Mark S. Weprin, a democrat who rejected the 2008 congestion plan, too supports the new plan. As MoveNY’s proposal shifts the burden of tolls from the outer boroughs to Manhattan, he told the Times, “We finally have a plan that my constituents can get behind.”

The mayor’s office issued a boilerplate comment to the Times, saying, “We’ll review the plan, as will everyone who shares concern about seeing the M.T.A.’s capital plan funded and transit fares kept affordable.” The governor’s office did not respond to the Times for comment.

(Photo: Adam Fagen)