Energy & Environment

Biden administration gives NYC green light to study congestion pricing

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The Biden administration gave New York City the green light to study the nation’s first “congestion pricing” plan.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said in a statement shared to Twitter that the Department of Transportation is allowing the state to proceed with a federally-required environmental assessment and public outreach for the program.

Cuomo said the plan is expected to help generate $15 billion to fund the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) $51.5 billion plan for transforming the system and making it more accessible.

“We thank President Biden and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg for advancing this important program, and we look forward to continuing to work together to further advance our nation-leading $306 billion infrastructure plan, which is preparing the State to be globally competitive for generations to come,”  Cuomo said.

Under congestion pricing, officials could charge a once-daily variable toll for vehicles entering the “Central Business District,” 60th Street in Midtown to Battery Park, the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) said in a separate statement.

Environmental assessments generally require less time to complete than a full environmental impact report, FHA noted, signaling that the Biden administration wants to move quickly on the proposal.

The FHA further stated that the assessment will analyze traffic volumes and air quality impacts of the program. Stakeholders from the commuting area of the Central Business District — including other parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — will also be involved.

MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said in a statement that he was “pleased” to see the administration has “acted quickly, rightly recognizing that by prioritizing transportation, we can accelerate our climate goals and improve equity for all New Yorkers.”

It’s unclear what the price range for the program would be, but Politico reported that previous proposals have recommended a range of $12 to $14 for cars, and $25 for trucks, though these would fluctuate.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Congestion pricing Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Joe Biden Metropolitan Transit Authority New York New York City Patrick Foye Pete Buttigieg Transportation planning

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