In the News: Updates on congestion pricing

By the way, these are fresh pics from a Tuesday crossing of Hudson at 3p, as I was walking to meet a friend on Laight. What a nightmare. They honked at *me* (!) as I wove between the bumpers, for crossing in the crosswalk with the light.

Anyway, here’s some of the latest in the news:

Crain’s reports that the international advocacy group the Environmental Defense Fund has launched a $1 million advertising campaign across the city and nearby suburbs starting with a full-page ad that ran in the Oct. 1 edition of The New York Times. From Crain’s: “The ad argues for the public transit and environmental benefits of congestion pricing and lists a coalition of 34 regional organizations that back the tolling program. ‘Environmental Defense Fund is thrilled to help get the word out about the broad coalition supporting New York’s first-in-the-nation plan for less traffic, better transit and cleaner air,’ Mary Barber, director of state affairs for the Environmental Defense Fund, told Crain’s in a statement.”

This is likely to counter the lobbying going on from the Police Benevolent Association, the Trucking Association of New York and Uber, who, Crain’s reports, have all been needling state officials on congestion pricing carve-outs. From Crain’s: “Major companies, trade groups and nonprofits have poured tens of thousands into lobbying firms to argue their case to influential state and city officials on how much motorists should be charged to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street, publicly-filed state lobbying records show. Deep-pocketed companies with a lot at stake including Uber, Lyft, UPS and Avis Car Rental have over the year paid lobbyists to grab the ear of key officials. Lobbying efforts have been targeted at Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office along with Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief executive Janno Lieber and other officials at the authority.”

USAToday’s North Jersey blog reports that Jersey drivers from Bergen County, who do not have direct train access to Manhattan, are agitating against the fact that there is no proposed credit for those taking the George Washington Bridge, while there are credits for those who take tunnels, including the Lincoln and Holland, that directly enter the toll zone, and would range from $4 to $7.

Taxi drivers also want an exemption, and ABC7 reports that they are calling on Governor Kathy Hochul to help them fight the proposed congestion pricing fee of a $1 surcharge per trip which would be passed on to the rider. “They say it amounts to a third tax. ‘Ordinary New Yorkers understand the plight of cab drivers and they understand the unfairness and the injustice that drivers have had to endure,’ said Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. One study shows yellow cab drivers make 12 trips into the congestion pricing zone every day.”

The Times did a bigger dig into the yellow cab industry and how congestion pricing might affect them here, in a story a year ago. “The tolling program could push up fares and shrink taxi demand, the M.T.A. says. Cabdrivers are also seeking their own fare hike of up to 23 percent.”



  1. A toll from Boro to Boro should be the limit. There should never be a toll from one neighborhood to the next, akin to carving out sections and pay to enter or ride the public transportation at your own risk of running into the crazies that may take your life for no reason. A ban on stove, ban on gas car, restrictions on how you travel, closing streets ment for cars so pedestrians can walk in them while the park is a short walk, pay to park at curb, pay if you accidentally go over the line of bus lane, pay if you go over speed limit, this pay pay pay is becoming absurd. It’s clearly to seperate you from your paycheck, period. When will people wake up and see that the power structure is slowly stripping your right to live, eat, breath and where you walk, drive or talk. If they want to ban cars, those voting for a ban should be watched when the bad weather comes and they sneak into a car to travel…

    • Mike you are absolutely correct!

      The traffic is caused by commuters and the easiest most effective manner to cut down on commuters, avoiding public transportation and driving in, is by increasing tolls.

      Furthermore with the advent of EZpass / automated Toll collection these tolls should be collected in each direction on every bridge and tunnel – No unidirectional tolling and the rather ridiculous traffic backups they cause due to people gathering around free entrances / exits to Manhattan.

      I can’t understand why people are in favor of this ridiculous approach… Raise the tolls… less people will come in. Problem solved.

      The truth is they simply want to continue to overtax and overburden Manhattan residents

    • Mike,
      What is truly unbelievable about Open Streets (“closing streets meant for cars so pedestrians can walk in them while the park is a short walk”) is that City DOT is closing streets and avenues with bus routes, thereby forcing bus detours.

      Bus riders (including elderly, people with health/mobility issues, women, parents with kids) are deprived of essential bus service.

      Who would have thought that the City would sacrifice essential mass transit for the bicycle lobby and faux recreation?
      And just shows that the bike lobby is actually not interested in mass transit.

  2. Make no mistake, this is purely a tax so that the MTA does not have to address its absurdly bloated cost structure and failure to collect fares. It has been “greenwashed” for sale to you with fictional environmental and congestion benefits.

    They are counting on you to be their fools. The MTA’s own budget projects INCREASES in cars crossing bridges and tunnels in 2024 and beyond. I’ve attached the link to the budget and you can see the projection for yourself near the bottom of page III-1.

  3. 1. CP will not lower bus & subway fare.
    2. CP will not help current subway riders and will never help bus riders as CP funds are for capital projects.
    3. MTA wants more vehicles for the revenue.
    4. The bike lobby TransAlt/Open Streets/Streetsblog wants zero vehicles to enable bicycle expansion.
    5. CP allows affluent people living in the zone to drive (let’s say school drop-off) in the zone without a fee.
    6. CP will cost non-rich like mobility-impaired person who needs a taxi to/from medical for let’s say just 6 blocks if crossing the zone or security guard driving in from Yonkers home for night shift.
    7. City keeps adding/enabling new congestion like Vornado’s new movie studio development on the West Side or new billionaire buildings in development.
    8. Vehicle & congestion patterns have changed from before Covid – most vehicles in the zone are commercial and there is a huge number of vehicles related to ecommerce (including gig workers with cars with personal plates) and Uber.
    9. There are days when few vehicles on the avenues in midtown but congestion is on the side streets.
    10. CP will likely decimate the already struggling yellow taxis.
    11. City has created congestion by street shrinkage – adding bike lanes and closing streets.
    12. Bicyclists are not former drivers – bicyclists are former subway/bus riders and siphon from mass transit.
    13. CP will add cost to goods and services.
    14. CP will hasten/cement luxurification of Manhattan – the new urban serfdom and playground for the young upscale.

  4. The benefits of CP have been described as reductions in traffic congestion and emissions in the “zone.” I don’t think anyone would oppose those goals. But I don’t understand how the CP plan would achieve those goals. Take one example: Let’s say you live in Tribeca and have a car, and you are going up to Columbia Presbyterian. As I understand it, if you take the West Side Highway, you’d pay a CP fee when you leave and when you return. Can you avoid the CP fees by driving uptown using avenues within the zone, at least up to 60th St? Or would you get charged when you cross 60th Street to 61st Street?