(The Center Square) – Car trips to the heart of Manhattan may become even more expensive for drivers. That’s according to a report released Wednesday regarding a proposal to implement congestion tolling on New York City streets.
If approved, New York would become the first American city to implement congestion tolling, a practice used in London, Stockholm, Milan and Singapore.
Under the proposal, driving through Manhattan from 60th Street and points south – with a couple of exceptions – could cost motorists up to $23 per day depending on the time they’re behind the wheel. The tolls would go toward the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which needs to find revenue sources to bolster the bus, subway and commuter rail lines in and around New York City.
The report states that even with rail and bus options available for commuters and other travelers, New York City remains the most congested urban area in the country. Nearly a quarter of the 7.7 million people that come to the Manhattan central business district every weekday travel by car.
“State and City of New York officials and stakeholder and advocacy groups have conducted multiple studies over the past 45 years to determine the most effective way to address congestion in the Manhattan CBD,” the executive summary said. “These studies overwhelmingly pointed to congestion pricing, or introduction of tolls based on traffic levels, as the most effective tool.”
Under the plan being considered, people who live in the Manhattan CBD and make less than $60,000 would be eligible to receive a state tax credit for the tolls they paid during the year.
The report offers seven possible tolling scenarios, each offering tiered pricing for peak, off-peak and overnight driving. In one scenario, peak hours would run from 6-10 a.m. and 4-8 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. Vehicles would be charged $23 during peak hours, $17 in off-peak hours, and $12 for overnight drives.
Under this proposal, vehicles would pay only one toll a day, no matter how many trips in and out of the CBD are made.
Another scenario would consider peak hours to run from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. The peak rate would be $9 for privately owned cars, with off-peak and overnight rates at $7 and $5, respectively.
Under that plan, private vehicles would still just be tolled once per day, but drivers of taxis, for-hire vehicles, small and large trucks and buses would face no limits on the number of times they’re tolled each day.
All tolls would be paid through the E-ZPass system, where a sensor would scan a transponder located in the vehicle. The registered owner would receive a bill by mail for vehicles without a transponder for the toll.
With the report’s release, a public comment period will run through Sept. 9 to solicit feedback on the plan. There will also be six virtual meetings open to the public to garner feedback. Those meetings will start on Aug. 25 and run from Aug. 27-31.