MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — The first Zoom session about congestion pricing lasted 6 hours and 40 minutes.
People were given three minutes to speak in support or about their opposition.
The federal government is reviewing the MTA’s proposals to charge a toll south of 60th Street in Manhattan, excluding the FDR and West Side Highway. The money would fund transit improvements.
The comments will be included in the record being reviewed by officials with the Federal Highway Administration.
Click here to view the proposals and also to see the hearings.
Comments can also be submitted via email.
The next hearing is Saturday at 10 a.m. and they continue every day through Wednesday.
Transit riders talk about the projects, including elevators, signals and new trains and buses. They say a dedicated revenue stream is necessary to keep the system in a state of good repair and upgraded.
Opponents criticize the timing and call the proposals a tax on drivers.
The federal government first has to approve the plan; then a six-person review board appointed by the governor and mayor will set the rate and possible exemptions. The MTA board will also meet on the topic.
The federal government could send it back and ask for a more involved environmental impact statement.
MTA board members will also weigh in.
The framework for the idea was approved by the legislature and former Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2019.
It already includes exemptions for emergency vehicles, transportation for People with Disabilities, and residents who live within the district and make less than $60,000 a year.