The installation of E-Z Pass readers and license plate-scanning cameras similar to those already in use at approaches to the MTA’s nine bridges and tunnels marks a significant step for the Central Business District Tolling Program, which the Federal Highway Administration signed off on in late June after years of delays.
Tolling devices will be installed at an estimated 120 detection points, and some have already been spotted at West 61st Street and West End Avenue. The tolling zone will extend south from 60th Street, except for vehicles driving through using the FDR Drive, the West Side Highway and the Battery Park underpass.
The federal government’s June 26 Finding of No Significant Impact put the MTA on a 310-day clock to install, test and activate the country’s first congestion pricing system, which is expected to charge motorists somewhere between $9 and $23 during peak hours to drive south of 60th Street, with discounts of at least 50% eyed between midnight and 4 a.m.
Congestion pricing is supposed to provide close to $15 billion for MTA upgrades that include new subway cars and signals, expanded subway accessibility, electric buses and the extension of the Second Avenue Subway north from 96th Street to East Harlem.
It is also designed to cut by 15% to 20% the number of cars, trucks, vans and buses entering Manhattan, according to a study released last August that outlined potential tolling scenarios. You can read more here.
We are anxious to see how this new program will affect where people purchase and if it actually creates less traffic congestion. We will continue to share our experiences with you. Enjoy the balance of summer.