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When will New York start charging tolls to enter Manhattan?


Alina Prikhodko

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A New Jersey federal court has set the clearest timeline yet for the state's controversial plan to implement the nation's first congestion pricing system. New York's plan to introduce a $15 entry fee into Manhattan could be implemented as early as mid-June, reports New York Post.

During a hearing in New Jersey's lawsuit seeking to block the plan, MTA attorney Mark Chertok said details of the final fee structure could be determined by the end of March. This will pave the way for the final approval needed for tolls to be implemented in June.

Before drivers can be charged for tolls, the plan must be reviewed by the Federal Highway Administration, where it will be checked for compliance with the findings of an environmental review. The federal government must then reach an agreement with New York City and New York State, the plan's sponsors, to allow the fee.

Judge Leo Gordon set the hearing for April 3 due to “time constraints associated with this case.” MTA Chairman Janno Lieber previously said he hopes the agency can begin charging drivers as early as May.

What is known about this plan

Under a controversial plan to combat peak traffic congestion, the MTA would impose a daily $15 fee on drivers entering Manhattan's central business district below 60th Street.

Transportation officials project that tolls could generate $1 billion a year, which would help finance major upgrades to the MTA's subway, commuter rail and bus systems.

On the subject: Manhattan Congestion Toll: The latest on the program, which starts in 2024

It would be the nation's first congestion toll system, which has drawn multiple lawsuits, including from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, the teachers union and 18 New York lawmakers. The labor coalition, which represents nearly 400 New York City government employees, also supported the federal lawsuit.

Murphy and other state officials argue that the federal government improperly allowed the MTA to fast-track its review of the potential environmental and economic costs of travel. The lawsuit, filed against the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, claims the plan is a “blatant cash grab” because New Jersey drivers already pay tolls to enter Manhattan.

Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams have refused to support the state's controversial congestion pricing proposal. The mayor said the city should have more “power and control” over the situation, which would likely lead to “another option.” The mayor's office insisted that the MTA include fare waivers for city employees and people traveling to hospitals.

The ongoing litigation has already caused months of delays and has hampered major New York City infrastructure initiatives, including a $1,3 billion program to overhaul and upgrade signals on the delay-plagued A and C lines in Brooklyn, MTA officials said.

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