NYC’s Congestion Pricing: This Is What You’re In For

New York City Congestion Pricing

Starting in 2021, motorists will be required to pay to drive into the heart of Manhattan. There will be a congestion zone drawn from around 60th Street all the way south to the Battery. While the city has not publicized specifics yet, we know that fees to enter these congestion zones will vary from person to person and that the city will charge the fees electronically. 

New Yorkers, dig a little deeper into your pockets. You will live in the first city in America to impose congestion pricing. NYC’s administration will do so to alleviate traffic in the city. More important, it will seek to increase funds to modernize it deteriorating subway. 

How will congestion pricing work?

The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority will make decisions on how to roll out congestion pricing. It is part of the more extensive Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The agency will form a panel to hear and gauge public opinion. The group will also study traffic research findings.  

As if all this confusion is not enough, the program is littered with so much legalese that the ordinary resident of New York City may not understand. It is named simply as the Central Business District Tolling Program. It varies from a proposal by the administration of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo just as it contradicts other plans proposed over the decades. Let us try to break it down for you. 

What will the pricing be like?

Authorities will draw a congestion zone in the heart of Manhattan from 6oth Street to the Battery in the south. An expansion of the E-ZPass ticketing system will enable the electronic charging of fees. If you do not use this system, you will not avoid paying, as cameras will photograph your license plates. 

We know that passenger cars will only have to pay once in 24 hours, no matter how many times they re-enter the congestion zone. However, this may not apply to delivery trucks, Ubers, and other commercial vehicles. Are you only passing through the congestion zone? You could avoid paying, especially if you are staying within the edges of the West Side Highway or the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive. 

Many people have raised pricing questions.

As we have read in the budget, the congestion pricing plan will affect virtually all motorists. The only natural exceptions are emergency vehicles such as ambulances, police cars, and fire extinguishers. Similarly, vehicles carrying disabled people will be exempted. It is still not clear how such vehicles will be identified. There may be other exemptions and discounts. 

The exact fees will be determined in late 2020. State leaders and traffic experts highly expect that it will be $11 – $14 for personal cars and about $25 for delivery vans and trucks. These fees will be enforced during peak business hours, and the costs will be lower on weekends and at night. The leadership expects to raise an estimated $1 billion to afford proper public transportation by the year 2024. 

Residents who live in the zone will not pay for taking out their cars but will do so upon return. Motorists who earn less than $60,000 annually and live inside the area will receive a tax credit. People going for medical treatment may be exempted from paying.