Feds Give Final Approval for the Rollout of Congestion Pricing


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority now has the final green light from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to implement congestion pricing in Manhattan.

After stating in May that no further data was needed from the MTA  to make a final decision on the plan to toll drivers heading into Manhattan below 60th Street, the FHWA said Monday that it sees minimal harm in the proposal.

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The next step will come in the form of the Traffic Mobility Review Board’s finalization of pricing, which could range between $9 and $23 per day for drivers entering into central Manhattan. The plan’s expected to generate about $15 billion to the MTA in five years, according to the agency.

MTA Chair Janno Lieber, a former Silverstein Properties executive, said that the program could launch as early as spring or summer 2024.

The real estate industry will have more than its fair share of representation on the Traffic Mobility Board — even with RXR CEO Scott Rechler steppingdown last week — as Carl Weisbrod from HR&A Advisors, Real Estate Board of New York president emeritus John Banks; Velez Organization president Elizabeth Velez and CEO of the Partnership for New York City Kathryn Wylde remain on the board.

“The few examples of congestion pricing systems in the world have been implemented thanks to strong leadership and a willingness to innovate,” Reinvent Albany, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said in a statement  It’s heartening to find those qualities applied to transportation and transit policy in New York today.”

The Central Business District Tolling Program was proposed by disgraced Gov., Andrew Cuomo in 2017 as the subways faced financial doom and it was later adopted by the state legislature in 2019. 

The Trump administration, however, never moved forward with approving the environmental assessment and the plan languished until it became a priority under President Joe Biden’s administration.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.