In the News: Congestion pricing round-up

The city’s plan for congestion pricing for vehicles entering the city south of 60th Street was approved by the MTA board on Dec. 5. It now goes through 60 days of public review, so here are some (more sophisticated) views (than mine) about its immediate and long-term future. 

Gothamist explains that the congestion pricing plan approved by the MTA board “may require 60 days of public review, but New Yorkers shouldn’t expect any major tweaks or changes to the scheme.” “Altering the $15 daytime price for drivers who enter Manhattan below 60th Street — or adding more exemptions for drivers — would be like taking a block out of a Jenga puzzle, MTA Chair Janno Lieber said Wednesday, borrowing language from this transit reporter.”

The Times had a story about the other cities whose congestion pricing plans were implemented long ago. It’s instructive. “The three cities have become real-life testing grounds for congestion pricing. In each, the policy has proved effective in helping to reduce traffic, ease congestion and cut pollution from vehicle emissions while raising millions of dollars for government coffers. It has also encouraged more alternatives to driving, including new buses and bike lanes.”

Bloomberg CityLab suggests that NYC congestion pricing could be “the most important American transportation experiment in decades” and it explains the economics of congestion, which is really interesting. “US elected officials have exhibited far less courage, frequently stopping at small pilots or resident surveys. New York City promises to finally stop the timidity. And if it sees the same positive results as its global peers, then I expect other city leaders will quickly look to replicate New York’s success.”

Streetsblog’s The Explainer runs through the major issues still looming over the first-in-the-nation congestion toll, including this question: “Does John Samuelsen have a point about the MTA not adding service?”



  1. I am laughing about “public transport” as I dodge drugged out junkies and tip toe through piles of feces on my daily commute without a cop or MTA worker in sight!

    And let’s get real – this is not simply to limit congestion – the large designated zone (rather than simply midtown and downtown) is laughable.

    Congestion reduction can easily be done quickly and easily with two way (automatic) tolling on ALL bridges and tunnels and raising tolls.

    No this is not about Congestion – it is something far different, another insidious Money grab by the Pension bloated MTA to extract even more money from already over burdened NYC residents. They want to shoot fish in a barrel… and yes we’re the fish!

    And let’s be clear, this is a New tax and the $15 is just the starting point, they’ve only just begun to squeeze…

    I think NYC has to take a hard look at what is happening in San Francisco… it’s not a path we want to follow…

    • This comment is entirely nonsense.

    • Rohin, I agree with you a 100 percent it’s a tax and will move more of the middle class out of Manhattan as well as small business and big business. The best is the MTA is ready to borrow against the revenues it will generate thru congestion pricing which will lead to more debt and they will squander the revenues as they always do.

  2. I can’t wait for this to start. People here love to complain about the MTA, and it has its problems, but can you imagine the city without it? Even if you don’t personally use it, you benefit by its existence. More than 3 million people ride the subway every day. Three million! Every day!

    My hope is that in the future, they extend this beyond Manhattan. Flatbush Avenue is a disaster full of cars, and something needs to be done. Given that much of it is bridge traffic, perhaps the de facto toll that congestion pricing is for East River bridges will help.

    Let’s do things that make New York exceptional again.

  3. I feel the young, healthy, single, maybe some yuppy couple are all for the congestion pricing. The newer generation don’t see themselves with 3 kids having to go shopping,taking them for doctor appointments, soccer practice. Sure will be fun in January getting them all dressed and lugging them down to the train station. I guess they don’t plan on getting old and more vulnerable to all of life’s limitations as we age.As always the cart goes before the horse. The improvements will come along once this all goes into effect. Any New Yorker that’s been around knows that it would be easier to sell the Brooklyn Bridge then believe the MTA.

  4. How about eliminating all parking plaque exemptions or eliminating all free street parking? Make meter use 24/ 7/365 .Want to eliminate congestion? Raise parking tickets to $250 a piece.

  5. Bring it on. I have high hopes that congestion pricing will indeed have the positive effects described for other cities: reduced congestion, pollution, noise. Also hope this will lead to reduced vehicle-caused injuries and deaths. Finally, I hope it will lead to improvements in the MTA.

    (Yes, of course, in addition the MTA needs to take other measures as well, especially cracking down seriously on fare evasion; and the city needs to crack down on all the scoff-laws who run red lights, speed, block the intersections – remember “don’t block the box”? – honk gratuitously, blast noise with modified engines and exhausts, car stereos, etc. But all of that can and should be done in concert with congestion pricing, not instead of congestion pricing).

  6. The Congestion tax is nothing but a cash grab from a demographic of the public the state & city calculated no one would fight for: Car owners. All to give the MTA more money to mismanage. The congestion in midtown is entirely created by real estate developers and the city officials they own. If there is too much congestion, why are the same people who brought us this new tax also planning a new cluster of high rises and a big *Casino* around Madison Square Garden?? Why? Because this has never been about public good; only corporate and political GREED.
    This new tax is completely unfair to Manhattan residents who live in the Congestion Tax zone (remember us?) This new, arbitrary tax in our neighborhood puts an unfair burden on those of us who NEED a car. **And don’t listen to the bike lobby who says no one needs a car; that’s very easy to say when you are young and healthy and your entire world is within a bike or filthy subway ride away. But it is NOT a reality for scores of middle income downtown residents who need cars and will now have to pay an en extra $15 a day whether they use their cars or not.
    If the city would truly like to improve safety, stop the propaganda about fewer cars means fewer accidents and instead START CRACKING DOWN ON BIKE & EBIKES THAT RUN RED LIGHTS!!! And release the full stats on the number of pedestrians injured or killed by them.
    Furthermore, they keep lying when they say the Congestion Tax has been a success in London. I have friends who live there who say it’s been anything but.
    This whole Congestion Tax thing is nothing but a scam. Plain and simple, and a continuation on the march to making the city unlivable.

  7. I’m all for congestion pricing be it to reduce car traffic or merely to tax the lazy or entitled. The only people who are going to complain about this are the bridge and tunnel crew who would rather drive in than take the train, or the insufferable NYC residents who insist on using their car for every trip to the grocery, kids soccer game or restaurant.

    Plenty of cabs, Ubers, busses and subways… or (shudder the thought) get your lazy butt up and just walk. Leave 10 min earlier and be part of the city you’ve chosen to live in instead of complaining that it’s gonna be too expensive to drive your Volvo SUV to Whole Foods.

    • Well said. I’m constantly amazed at how many people drive their kids to soccer at Pier 40. If, as reported, they will be charged $15 congestion fee for entering Pier 40 in addition to whatever parking fee, they’ll reconsider and take a cab or Uber.