Central Business District (CBD) Tolling Program Update

May 18, 2023

Status Update:

On May 5, 2023, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the release of the Final Environmental Assessment and draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the CBD Tolling Program. See below for an overview of the key findings from the Final Environmental Assessment and draft FONSI.

Congestion Pricing EA Findings:

The MTA and two Departments of Transportation are committing $207.5M over 5 years for mitigation measures largely focused on environmental justice communities and populations.[1]

  • Includes $47.5M set aside for a new low-income discount
  • $5M for additional monitoring of traffic, air quality, and transit station elements

New commitments in the Final Environmental Assessment include:

  • A low-income driver discount program would provide a 25% discount for low-income frequent drivers on the full CBD E-ZPass toll rate after the first 10 trips in each calendar month (excluding the overnight period).
  • Taxis and for-hire-vehicles may not be tolled more than once a day.
  • Regional mitigation measures
  • Provide a discount of at least 50% on the peak toll for trucks and other vehicles from at least 12 a.m. to 4 a.m.
  • Expand NYC DOT’s Clean Trucks Program to accelerate the replacement of old diesel trucks to lower-emission vehicles
  • Expand NYC DOT’s Off-Hours Delivery Program
  • Place-based mitigation measures
  • Retrofit refrigeration trailers (TRUs) at Hunts Point Market from dirty diesel to clean hybrid diesel
  • Expand electric truck charging infrastructure
  • Renovate parks and expand vegetative barriers along highways in EJ communities
  • Install air filtration units in schools near highways
  • Expand the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s asthma case management program in schools and establish a new asthma center in the Bronx
  • The exact cost of the tolls is not set yet, but the MTA is considering seven different scenarios (page 3), with charges ranging from $5 to $23 to drive into the congestion zone

Next Steps:

  • The official 30-day public availability period for the Final Environmental Assessment and draft FONSI for the Project will be May 12, 2023 – June 12, 2023.
  • After the 30 days elapse, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will make its final decision, completing its review of the potential environmental effects of allowing the CBD.
  • Following entry into a tolling agreement with the Federal Highway Administration, tolling could begin up to 310 days later (expected spring or summer 2024), during which contractors would design, build, test and activate tolling equipment.
  • During that period, the below members of the Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB) would develop recommended toll rates along with any potential discounts, crossing credits and/or exemptions.
  • Carl Weisbrod, Chair
  • John Banks (REBNY President, 2015 – 2019)
  • Scott Rechler (Regional Plan Association)
  • Elizabeth Velez (Velez Organization)
  • Kathryn Wylde (Partnership for NYC)
  • John Samuelsen (Transport Workers Union)
  • The TMRB’s recommendations will be presented to the MTA Board, acting in its legal capacity as the board of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, the MTA agency that would collect the tolls.
  • Following the filing and publication of a proposed tolling structure and a public comment period, the MTA would hold a public hearing before any tolling structure is adopted.[2]

Background on Congestion Pricing:

  • Congestion pricing will introduce tolls on vehicular traffic in the CBD of Manhattan from 60th Street (inclusive of 60th Street) to the southern tip of Manhattan.
  • The CBD does not include Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, the West Side Highway, Battery Park Underpass, and any portion of the Hugh Carey Tunnel that connects to West Street.
  • Vehicles will be tolled when detected entering or leaving the CBD.
  • Tolls will be assessed and collected via EZ-Pass or billed to driver’s front license plate photos. A discount will be given to EZ-Pass customers.
  • Goals of the CBD
    • Reduce daily vehicle-miles traveled within the Manhattan CBD by at least 5 percent.
    • Reduce the number of vehicles entering the Manhattan CBD daily by at least 10 percent.
    • Create a funding source for capital improvements and generate sufficient annual net revenues to fund $15 billion for capital projects for the MTA Capital Program
    • Establish a tolling program consistent with the purposes underlying the New York State legislation entitled the MTA Reform and Traffic Mobility Act.

Tolling Scenarios:

Exhibit 1

Table from FHWA Central Business District Executive Summary



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