As Congestion Pricing Nears Reality, It Faces Growing Opposition

When New York lawmakers approved congestion pricing in 2019, it was little more than a vague outline tucked into the state budget: Drivers entering the busiest parts of Manhattan would be charged a fee to raise money for public transit.

But as the first-in-the-nation congestion pricing plan finally takes shape, a growing number of opponents — including Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey, some New York City elected officials and influential unions — are waging last-ditch efforts to water down or derail the effort before it even begins.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority expects in June to start charging most passenger cars $15 a day to enter a congestion zone below 60th Street. Trucks would pay $24 or $36, depending on their size. Taxi fares would go up by $1.25, and Uber and Lyft fares by $2.50.

Now, amid the uncertainty caused by legal and political clashes — over the cost to drivers, the possibility of increased traffic in some neighborhoods and more — M.T.A. officials have suspended some capital construction projects that were to be paid for by the program.

Five lawsuits challenging the plan have been brought in federal courts in New York and New Jersey, while lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Albany have put forth proposals to repeal congestion pricing or carve out exemptions. On March 13, a court-ordered settlement conference for the lawsuits ended without an agreement.

Andrew M. Cuomo, the former New York governor who pushed to pass congestion pricing while in office, appeared to backtrack on March 11, when he wrote in an opinion piece in the New York Post that “many things have changed since 2019 and while it is the right public policy, we must seriously consider if now is the right time to enact it.”

Back to top button