TRENTON – An environmental assessment of the proposed congestion pricing plan to charge tolls to drivers in Manhattan’s central business district finds it would achieve its goals – reduce traffic and raise a lot of money to spend on transit improvements.

The study modeled seven different scenarios for charging tolls south of 60th Street in Manhattan, each with different combinations of exemptions and discounts. One possibility is that drivers with E-ZPass entering from New Jersey through the Holland or Lincoln tunnels, and perhaps even the George Washington Bridge, could get a credit reducing the Manhattan toll.

It finds traffic in that part of New York would drop 15% to 20%, depending on the toll structure, transit ridership would increase 1% to 2% and air quality would improve.

Click here to read the report.

Janno Lieber, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority chair and chief executive officer, said the report “makes clear the widespread benefits” of the tolling plan.

“Bottom line: Congestion pricing is good for the environment, good for public transit and good for New York and the region,” Lieber said.

MTA releases the Environmental Assessment for the Central Business Tolling District Program in a folder presented to representatives of the media at 2 Broadway. (Marc A. Hermann / MTA)
MTA releases the Environmental Assessment for the Central Business Tolling District Program in a folder presented to representatives of the media at 2 Broadway.
(Marc A. Hermann / MTA)
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Gov. Phil Murphy has said he won’t support the plan if New Jersey drivers are charged twice – once for crossing the Hudson River and again for entering the central business district. While New Jersey doesn’t have a vote on MTA actions, it can interfere with the plan by tying up action through the Port Authority.

Tolls could range from $9 to $12 at peak times for the plans with the fewest crossing credits or $14 to $23 for the plans with the most offsets. The more people are exempted from the tolls, the higher the resulting toll in order for the MTA to generate the revenue it seeks for its transit system.

There will be a series of online hearings during the last week of August to get input from the public. Click here to sign up or watch the livestream.

The meetings are Aug. 25 at 5 p.m., Aug. 27 at 10 a.m., Aug. 28 at 1 p.m., Aug. 29 at 1 p.m., Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. and Aug. 31 at 10 a.m. Each meeting is scheduled to last three hours.

People can also submit comments online or through email at CBDTP@mtabt.org, voicemail at 646-252-7440, fax to 212-504-3148 to the attention of the CBDTP Team or mail at CBD Tolling Program, 2 Broadway, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10004.

Not all the roads south of 60th Street are included in the central business district. It excludes the FDR Drive, the West Side Highway, the Battery Park Underpass and the roadway portion of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel that connects to West Street.

The assessment found 3% of work trips to the central business district now are made by car from New Jersey. Eighty-five percent are made by transit, 5% by car from New York City, 3% by car from suburban New York counties, 0.2% by car from Connecticut and 4% by other ways, such as taxis and bikes.

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Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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