New York City Green Signaled To Roll Out Congestion Pricing; What Is It?

New York City Green Signaled To Roll Out Congestion Pricing; What Is It?
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Michael Nagle

People entering Manhattan will soon have to pay a toll that the Federal Highway Administration believes will help tackle traffic congestion. The toll is called the Central Business District Tolling Program, but is commonly referred to as "congestion pricing."

The toll will be specifically applicable to people driving through Manhattan south of 60th Street. The measure could be put into place as soon as spring 2024 and is said to be the first of its kind in the nation, per NY's Metropolitan Transporation Authority (MTA).

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"Congestion pricing has been given the green light, and we’re ready to get it done right," said Eric Adams Mayor of New York City. While it's the first ever time in the US, the same has been implemented in Stockholm, Singapore, and London.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that they had conducted a thorough environmental assessment process which involved responding to thousands of comments from community members from across the region.

"With the green light from the federal government, we look forward to moving ahead with the implementation of this program," she said.

Vehicles could be charged from $9 to $23 during peak hours, according to reports.

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As per the Federal Highway Administration, congestion pricing is a way to "reduce the waste associated with traffic congestion." It helps regulate the demand by simply increasing the prices without pumping into the supply. Based on the economic theory of pricing, it simply tackles congestion while also decreasing air pollution by charging vehicles more when they enter a very congested area of major metropolitan cities.

The global cities that have already implemented this dynamic pricing system have seen a significant fall in carbon dioxide pollution and traffic along with a rise in the average speed of vehicles.

Pexels | Md Jawadur Rahman
Pexels | Md Jawadur Rahman

According to MTA, 700,000 vehicles enter the lower Manhattan region which is one of the most congested areas in the world and sees some of the world's horrible gridlocks, per CNN. The new system is expected to decrease the number of vehicles entering the gridlock zone by at least 10 percent. Uber and Lyft are found to really affect the congestion in these places, per The Verge. This has also led the normal public transportation of the city to dry up, leaving the states to look for other streams of revenue.



 

According to the New York State Home official website, the new policy will help with:

Sustainable Future: The pricing system will significantly improve regional air quality. 

A Better Transit System: The new pricing model is said to generate more net revenues that will leverage $15 billion for the MTA's Capital Program. Local bus speeds have been reduced by 28% in the Central Business District since early 2010. MTA aims to improve the efficiency of all transit services with the help of Congestion Pricing.

Less Congestion (no-brainer): Congestion is extremely disadvantageous for the whole city. It delays many crucial services and also raises the cost of doing business. 



 

Some of the outer boroughs say that the program may hurt drivers who have no other way to reach Manhattan than by car and it will harm low-income drivers, per CNN Business. MTA is planning to combat some of these issues. It said that drivers who make $50,000 a year will be getting a 25% discount and other vehicles will get a 50% discount during overnight hours.

"It’s good to see New York City’s program is moving forward," said the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, hoping the LA will follow NYC's footsteps.

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