You are reading

De Blasio Urges State to Get Congestion Pricing Up and Running by 2022

(Photo by Kevin Lee on Unsplash)

July 16, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Mayor Bill de Blasio called on state officials Thursday to enact congestion pricing by next year.

He urged the MTA to put its long-delayed plan to charge drivers entering Manhattan below 60th Street in place by July 2022.

“It’s time for the state to get in gear, get congestion pricing done,” de Blasio said during a morning press conference.

The new tolls were slated to go into effect in January 2021, but the plan was held up by the Trump administration and delayed by COVID-19. The Biden administration has since given the MTA the go-ahead to conduct an environmental assessment of the plan.

The agency must complete this assessment before the plan can move forward and de Blasio said it has been dragging its feet. He wants the MTA to expedite the assessment.

The congestion pricing plan could generate $15 billion over four years for much-needed capital improvements to the New York transit system.

The fees to enter the congestion pricing zone could be around $11 to $14 for cars and $25 for trucks during peak business hours, state leaders previously told the New York Times. However, the actual figures will be set by the Traffic Mobility Review Board, a six-person panel created in 2019.

De Blasio, on Thursday, announced the he had appointed Sherif Soliman, the Department of Finance Commissioner, to that board. The board members are officially appointed by the MTA, with the requirement that one member is recommended by the mayor, one member resides in the Long Island Rail Road region, and one member resides in the Metro North region.

The mayor said the subway system desperately needs the money for repairs and upgrades as people begin to return to their workplace and school this fall.

“We cannot have a full recovery without the MTA getting stronger,” he said. “The MTA needs to get it together because right now we’re seeing too many problems.”

The program would also help reduce traffic congestion in busy sections of Manhattan, improve air quality and boost public transit ridership.

“The pandemic caused a different problem — lots of people turning back to their cars,” de Blasio said. “We’ve got to stop that because that’s caused congestion on the streets, more pollution, it’s bad for the climate.”

There have also been too many car crashes as well, he added.

“We’ve got to get people out of the cars,” de Blasio said. “Again, the solution [is to] get people back to mass transit, to make mass transit better — that means congestion pricing.”

State Sen. Jessica Ramos joined the mayor’s press conference Thursday and also called on the state to speed up its implementation.

“Congestion pricing will help us check off many things on the to-do list and perhaps even more importantly it’s going to affect the wellbeing of our planet,” Ramos said.

She said the plan would likely reduce the number of cars coming through neighborhoods like Astoria and Long Island City, thereby cutting the amount of pollution.

“Here in Astoria, in our district, we have the highest asthma rates in the entire city…,” Ramos said. “We need less congestion at that gateway neighborhood, around highways, around the Queensboro Bridge, around the Midtown Tunnel. We need everyone’s cooperation in doing this.”

The MTA has not provided any details as to when the tolls would go into effect.

email the author: [email protected]

One Comment

Click for Comments 
Larry Penner

MTA FORECAST OF $15 BILLION IN CONGESTION PRICING REVENUE IS A MYTH Since November 2019, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have delayed announcing their appointments to the MTA Traffic Mobility Review Board. It is now twenty months late. (deBlasio just made his nomination this week). Details of who will pay what can never be resolved until this board is established and completes its mission. It was previously announced that they will be meeting behind closed doors. This is inconsistent with both Cuomo’ and deBlasio’s promises of open transparent administrations. Tolling pricing recommendations were originally promised to be made public by November 2020.

This process is politically sensitive. MTA officials previously forecasted a January 2023 date. Final details of who will pay what have never been established. Elected officials will lobby for discounts or exemptions for police, fire, teachers, low income, outer borough residency, seniors, physically disabled. small commercial delivery businesses, users of electric vehicles or other special niches. These discounts or exemptions will be adopted to placate the constituents of elected officials running for reelection in 2021 or 2022. They will result in less revenue. You can’t capture five years of toll revenues estimated to be $1 billion per year (leveraged to raise $15 billion in support MTA’s $51 billion 2020-2024 five year capital plan) when you implement the program three years after 2020.

Late start for implementation, downturn in the economy, exemptions, toll discounts, more people telecommuting full and part time will result in billions of lost anticipated revenue.

(Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office).

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Queens Botanical Garden hosts Lunar New Year celebration with globally beloved Miffy

About 4,200 people joined the world-renowned beloved rabbit Miffy to ring in the Year of the Rabbit at Queens Botanical Garden’s Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday, Jan. 28. 

Queens Botanical Garden’s Lunar New Year celebration included a visit from Councilman Shekar Krishnan, who gave remarks, followed by a program of activities for all ages. Attendees enjoyed a lion dance performance, zodiac crafts, demonstrations, lucky plant sales and more. Miffy was in attendance for photos, story time and to greet children throughout the event.

Mets owner Steve Cohen hosts second community visioning session regarding development of area around Citi Field

Hundreds of community residents and leaders gathered at the Piazza Club inside Citi Field to participate in a visioning session regarding the development of a nearby 50-acre lot. This marked the second visioning session New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has hosted at Citi Field in January as he attempts to collect as much community feedback regarding the development as possible.

Attendees of the visioning session went to a series of interactive stations, sharing what mattered most to them when it came to improving the area around Citi Field, including preferred forms of year-round entertainment, ability to access different forms of transportation and attainable local jobs and training. Information and input was collected from the community in how they would like to see the lot utilized. A common theme among many of those who took part in the visioning session was the desire to see something built there that would bring a lot of economic opportunity to the community and provide year-round entertainment.

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens doctor aims to bring awareness to women’s heart health

With February marking the beginning of American Heart Month, a cardiologist from NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital spoke with QNS about the importance of heart health for women.

According to attending cardiologist Dr. Joanna Troulakis, approximately 400,000 women die as a result of cardiovascular diseases each year in the United States. She noted that women have suffered more cardiovascular disease deaths than men in recent years. When it comes to heart attacks, the mortality rate for women is higher than men.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

‘Where do we go now?’ Michaels set to close its doors in Fresh Meadows next month

The Michaels located at 187-04 Horace Harding Expwy. in Fresh Meadows will be permanently closing its doors on Feb. 23. The announcement that Michaels will be leaving the Fresh Meadows Shopping Center has led to an outpouring of reactions from many community members.

“We know this is disappointing to our customers in Queens, but we hope to continue to serve them at our other locations in New York City or online at Michaels.com,” a spokesperson for Michaels said in a statement to Patch.com.