Mayor Adams Wants Exemptions to NYC 'Congestion Pricing'

If you want to drive your car into Manhattan during peak hours, you will pay a steep price. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA)’s Traffic Mobility Review Board has released its congestion pricing plan for New Yorkers who drive into the city core during peak hours and it’s a shocker.

Starting in May, drivers who enter Manhattan south of 60th Street during daytime hours would be charged $15, while motorcyclists would be charged $7.50.

Motorcycles do not contribute to traffic congestion. But traffic congestion is just an excuse. The city needs to raise about $15 billion over the next decade to pay for repairs to the ancient, antiquated transit system. The congestion pricing plan unveiled on Thursday would raise about $1 billion a year.

But Mayor Eric Adams complained that there were very few exemptions to the pricing. 

“I think the $15 proposal is the beginning of the conversation,” Adams said at a Thursday morning press conference. “Now it’s time to hear from the community to deliberate and to make the determination of who is going to be exempt who’s not going to be exempt.”

Adams is suggesting that there should be exemptions for medical treatment.

“I think that anyone that’s driving into the city for luxury purposes or convenience, they need to pay whatever the price is,” he said. “Those who are there for necessities such as a medical treatment that is mandatory by a certain professional, we need to take that into account.”

The toll planning commissioner, Carl Weisbrod, said the board had considered such an exemption but decided against it after realizing that insurance would cover the cost of most people paying the toll.

New York Post:

Daytime hours would be between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on the weekends and drivers would only be charged once per day.

Outside those peak hours, the toll would be $3.75.

The fee for small trucks would be $24 while large trucks would be charged $36 during daytime hours. At night, those tolls would be discounted to $6 and $9, respectively, to move traffic-jamming deliveries out of commuting hours.

Cabs and other vehicles for hire, including Uber and Lyft, would be exempted from the daily charge, however, riders would have a fee attached to their receipt — set at $1.25 for taxis and $2.50 for other vehicles for hire.

Meanwhile, commuters coming in via the East River or Hudson River tunnels would get a $5 discount against the daytime price.

New Jersey politicians are not enamored of this specific congestion pricing plan. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has sued the MTA over the plan.

“As a conceptual matter, I support congestion pricing, as long as it is structured in a way that is fair to all sides. This plan is neither fair nor equitable,” he said in a statement.

MTA officials say that because of the lawsuit, they can’t issue bonds to finance improvements. The fact is that New York mayors have put off the needed repairs for a couple of decades and are now paying the price by forcing New Yorkers to pay a stiff toll just to drive into the city.

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