New York City could introduce traffic congestion charges of up to $23 a day by the end of next year, which a study released Wednesday is expected to reduce the number of cars entering Manhattan from 15% to 20%.
The city wants to charge a fee that changes daily for vehicles entering or traveling within the central business district, which is identified between 60th Street in midtown Manhattan and Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan.
New York, which has the most congested traffic in the US, will become the first major US city to follow Londonstarted a similar fee in 2003.
New York lawmakers approved the plan in 2019, and it was originally scheduled to begin in 2021. But the federal government under President Donald Trump hasn’t taken any action.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), which must approve the move, said Wednesday that it has approved the necessary environmental assessment. The agency will review public comments by September 9.
It did not set a deadline for its decision, but the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) said the toll could come into effect for up to 10 months after approval. That time will be spent on system design and implementation.
“Congestion pricing is good for the environment, good for transit, and good for New York and the region,” said MTA CEO Janno Lieber.
Coach drivers can pay $9 to $23 for admission at peak times, while overnight fees can be as little as $5. Drivers can apply existing bridge and tunnel fees to collect congestion charges.
An environmental assessment released Wednesday found the fee would cut traffic, improve air quality, make buses more reliable and increase public transit use by 1-2%. The toll collection will generate $1.5 billion a year and support $15 billion in debt to improve public transportation.
Riders Alliance, a group that advocates for transit, endorsed the move and said congestion pricing “can’t happen anytime soon.”