Hochul Postpones June 30th Launch of First Congestion Pricing Toll in the U.S.

As part of ongoing efforts by New York City to reduce pollution, it has become the first U.S. city to approve a congestion pricing program to reduce vehicle traffic in its busy urban core. “Under state law approved in 2019, congestion pricing is designed to collect $1 billion in annual tolls that the MTA will bond to $15 billion toward infrastructure upgrades for the city’s subway, buses, and commuter rails.” Installation of the cameras along the perimeter of the congestion pricing zone was handled by MTA contractor TransCore. However, in what appears to be a political move due to concerns about the fallout from implementing the tolls, on Wednesday, Governor Hochul “indefinitely postponed” the MTA’s estimated $550 million effort that was scheduled to launch on June 30 following a year-long review process by the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) that culminated in late March by authorizing the final toll structure. Several pending lawsuits in federal and New York state court remain, hoping to stall or defeat the program. However, should the MTA ask for a bond in the amount of revenues lost due to the deal, judges may require plaintiffs — a mix of municipalities, organizations, and individuals to post a potentially hefty bond that would allow the MTA to recoup lost toll revenue from an order that temporarily blocks the tolls from taking effect, assuming the tolls ultimately pass legal muster.” While the judge would have final say on whether to grant or waive a bond, should a temporary restraining order or a longer-term preliminary injunction against the tolls delay the toll program for several months, the bond “could be for hundreds of millions of dollars.” The state of New Jersey is among the roster of filed lawsuits. However, included in the final congestion pricing plan submitted by the MTA to the federal government, is an unspecified commitment for allocation of mitigation dollars to New Jersey, “to show that the authority’s tolling structure is consistent with the Federal Highway Administration’s initial approval last year.”

Source:    https://www.crainsnewyork.com/transportation/congestion-pricing-will-launch-june-30-nyc

Source:    https://www.crainsnewyork.com/transportation/congestion-pricing-lawsuits-may-require-pricey-bonds-stall-tolls

Source:    https://www.crainsnewyork.com/politics-policy/hochuls-congestion-pricing-retreat-came-after-months-worrying