Commuter toll of $15 approved by New York City transit officials

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has given its approval for a groundbreaking measure in New York City, making it the first city in the United States to implement congestion pricing. Starting soon, a $15 toll will be imposed on passenger cars entering the heart of Manhattan.

The MTA has given its approval to the plan of implementing toll charges for vehicles traveling south of 60th Street. With a vote of 11-1, this new policy will be effective on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. However, it’s important to note that the West Side Highway and FDR Drive, which are prominent parkways along the riverside of Manhattan’s west and east sides respectively, will be exempt from these toll charges.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the MTA stated that this program will have multiple benefits. It will not only reduce traffic in Manhattan’s central business district but also help in decreasing pollution. Additionally, the program will provide crucial funding for transit improvements.

The MTA’s post stated that they are prepared for the upcoming stages and anticipate putting the program into action in the near future.

While the plan has received approval, its implementation could face complications due to several pending lawsuits in New York and New Jersey. Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey has also expressed his intention to oppose the fee on behalf of commuters from the Garden State traveling into New York City, referring to it as a “blatant cash grab.”

“The MTA’s recent actions provide additional evidence of their determination to disregard the law in their pursuit of balancing the budget at the expense of New Jersey commuters,” stated Governor Murphy in response to the vote on Wednesday. “We will explore every possible avenue to safeguard our residents from an unjust tolling plan that unfairly targets New Jerseyans, particularly those with lower and middle incomes.”

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The city has successfully obtained exemptions for school buses and “specialized government vehicles” that carry out important tasks within the congestion zone. Fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars are also exempt from the fees. Additionally, bus lines like Greyhound, Megabus, and the Hampton Jitney are not required to pay. However, certain vehicles such as trucks and select buses will have higher fees imposed on them.

Drivers earning less than $50,000 annually are eligible for a reduced fee. Moreover, drivers entering the congestion zone through the Lincoln, Holland, Battery, and Queens-Midtown tunnels will receive a credit towards the $15 fee, as they are already paying a toll at the tunnels.

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