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Nation's First Congestion Pricing Plan Gains Approval, Tolls $15 And Up For Motorists * 100PercentFedUp.com * by Danielle

NEWS HEADLINES: Nation’s First Congestion Pricing Plan Gains Approval, Tolls $15 And Up For Motorists * 100PercentFedUp.com * by Danielle

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) board approved on Wednesday the controversial congestion pricing plan that will charge motorists $15 to drive through parts of Manhattan.

“The new tolls, likely to launch in June, were approved by an 11-1 vote,” the New York Post reports.

Critics have rightly called the plan a cash grab that will predominately impact middle and lower-income drivers.

The toll structure includes:

  • Cars will pay $15 to enter Manhattan at 61st Street and below during the day, and $3.75 at night
  • Motorcycles will pay $7.50 during the day and $1.75 at night
  • Trucks will pay between $24-36 during the day and $6-9 at night
  • Taxi drivers will see a $1.25 surcharge per ride, while Uber and Lyft drivers will pay $2.50

WATCH:

From the New York Post:

“Don’t kill the goose that lays the egg,” Nassau County board member David Mack, who was the only person to vote against the pricing plan, told fellow board members Wednesday.

The now formally-approved plan to charge drivers $15 to enter Midtown Manhattan below 60th Street – and an even higher toll for trucks — will include carveouts for private buses and many city-owned cars.

The Wednesday vote essentially rubberstamped the exemptions, as well as the cost, after the MTA board first approved the plan late last year.

Advocates of the plan – the first of its kind in the nation – have long argued the increased tolls will slash peak-day congestion in Manhattan and generate billions for much needed transit and railroad upgrades.

“It’s a historic day: Today, the MTA Board voted to approve the toll rates for the nation’s first congestion pricing program. This program will reduce traffic in Manhattan’s central business district, reduce pollution, and provide critical funding for transit improvements,” the MTA wrote.

“The vote follows an extensive outreach period—with tens of thousands of people weighing in through comments and at public hearings—and the FHWA’s Finding of No Significant Impact. We are grateful to those who took the time to share their views. The approved toll rates align with those recommended last year by the Traffic Mobility Review Board. We’re ready for the next steps, and expect to implement the program soon,” the MTA added.

NBC New York reports:

Almost all 110 toll readers are already installed, positioning the MTA to begin collecting as soon as June 15. Federal judges on either side of the Hudson River could still block the plan, though the MTA expects that not to be the case.

The board overwhelmingly voted in favor of the plan in December, saying charging drivers to enter a swath of Manhattan would contribute millions of dollars to the aging, cash-strapped transit system. Wednesday’s vote is a critical final approval of “clarifications” and exemptions.

As NBC New York reported earlier this week, most of the cars likely to get full exemptions will be government vehicles.

The toll will not be in effect for taxis, but drivers will be charged a $1.25 surcharge per ride. The same policy applies to Uber, Lyft and other rideshare drivers, though their surcharge will be $2.50.

Despite what MTA officials say were overwhelming public comments “in favor” of congestion pricing by a 2-to-1 margin, a number of groups have stood in opposition.

Taxi advocates have blasted the plan, calling it “a reckless proposal that will devastate an entire workforce.”

WATCH:

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, continued to voice opposition to the congestion pricing plan.

“This is far from over and we will continue to fight this blatant cash grab. The MTA’s actions today are further proof that they are determined to violate the law in order to balance their budget on the backs of New Jersey commuters. We will continue to avail ourselves of every option in order to protect residents on this side of the Hudson from an unfair tolling scheme that discriminates against New Jerseyans, especially lower and middle-income drivers,” Murphy said in a statement.





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