Gov. slams brakes on New York City congestion pricing plan 'indefinitely'

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Updated Jun 11, 2024
New York City traffic

NY Gov. Kathy HochulGov. Kathy HochulNew York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday she was calling a halt to the congestion pricing plan that would have daily charged truckers and other motorists to drive in the busiest section of lower Manhattan. The plan was set to go into effect at the end of the month.

"After careful consideration I have come to  the difficult decision that implementing the planned congestion pricing system risks too many unintended consequences," said Hochul. "I have directed the M.T.A. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) to indefinitley pause the program."

Hochul said her decision took into account the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on working families. She said the tolling plan would "create another obstacle to our economic recovery."

The governor had previously supported the plan.

The Trucking Association of New York which recently filed a lawsuit against the plan.

In response to the governor's actions, a statement from the association said:

"At this time, the Trucking Association of New York (TANY) has no intention of dropping its lawsuit against the MTA over its congestion pricing framework, despite the Governor's reported decision to indefinitely pause the program. The current plan is unconstitutional, and any future iteration or implementation must include reform to protect the supply chain and prevent increased economic hardship for all New Yorkers. We are awaiting word from the Southern District of New York regarding next steps.”

Our previous story:

The Trucking Association of New York (TANY) last week filed a federal lawsuit challenging New York City's plan to charge motorists -- including truckers -- fees for driving into the city's major business district.

The trucking association's suit questions the constitutionality of the congestion pricing plan, which is set to take begin June 30. Several other lawsuits have challenged the environmental review process employed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in creating what will be a one-of-a-kind fee in the U.S.

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The congestion pricing plan calls for trucks to pay between $36 and $24 every time they enter the so-called Congestion Relief Zone, which is defined as that portion of Manhattan below 60th Street. That compares to $15 a day drivers of passenger cars will be charged.

The TANY lawsuit claims the congestion plan violates the constitution's Commerce Clause because it creates a financial burden for truckers. The suit also claims the tolling plan also violates the Federal Aviation Authorization Act, which prohibits states from enacting laws that affect the prices, routes, or services of motor carriers.

TANY has also said truckers cannot take advantage of lower prices available for trips between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. because they are often atthe mercy of their customers' schedules. It also suggested the tolls will also raise prices for consumers.

TANY suggests the MTA revise its plan to exempt the industry from the fee, limit trucks to being tolled just once a day or toll them at the same rate as passenger vehicles.

The plan was created to reduce traffic in the busiest part of the city, reduce air pollution, and raise an expected $1 billion to repair the city's ailing mass transit system. It is similar to ones already in effect in Stockholm, Sweden and London, England.