The MTA expects to have federal approval for its downtown Manhattan congestion pricing plan by the end of this year, setting up a launch of the new fees by the end of 2023, officials said.
“We look forward to a successful launch of the congestion pricing program towards the end of 2023,” Steve Berrang, the MTA’s Director of Capital Program Management, testified during a City Council budget hearing on Wednesday.
“We anticipate that we will obtain FWHA —federal — approval for our environmental assessment for congestion pricing,” Berrang said. “Approximately one year after that —310 days to be exact — construction will be complete, and we anticipate funding to start to flow to the MTA.”
Congestion pricing passed the state legislature in April 2019 with the backing of disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Money from the tolls to drive into parts of Manhattan will go to the MTA and other transportation projects.
Originally scheduled to start in January 2021, the program was delayed by President Donald Trump’s administration. Only after President Joe Biden took office did the MTA get the go-ahead to conduct an environmental review.
State legislators mandated a revenue target of $1 billion per year to support $15 billion in loans for transit improvements. But they left key details to a six-member panel called the “Traffic Mobility Review Board,” which is supposed to set the toll, but has yet to meet.
Official MTA estimates for the toll rates range from $9 to $23 for passenger vehicles, depending on the time of day. Trucks will likely be charged more, according to the MTA.
Transit officials held several public meetings in the fall to collect input from people across the tri-state region.
Several groups have lobbied for exemptions to the new fees.