NYC congestion pricing: Here are the rates under 7 tolling scenarios

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — With Wednesday’s release of the environmental assessment for New York City’s proposed congestion pricing program, drivers got an in-depth look at how much they could be charged to drive into Manhattan’s Central Business District (CBD).

The comprehensive report outlines seven different tolling scenarios, with higher tolls rates, up to $23 during peak hours, in the scenarios that offer additional credits, caps and exemptions to certain vehicles.

Under all the scenarios described below, personal cars, motorcycles and commercial vans would be capped at one CBD toll per day, though other vehicles may be charged multiple times.

None of the scenarios outlined would provide an additional credit for drivers who cross the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge before moving into the city, something the borough’s elected officials have pushed for since the program was first proposed.

All the scenarios, with the exception of Scenario F, would use the following time periods to determine peak, off-peak and overnight hours.

  • Peak: Weekdays – 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Peak: Weekends – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Off-peak: Weekdays – 8 to 10 p.m.
  • Overnight: Weekdays – 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Overnight: Weekends – 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.

The toll rates provided in the document would apply to personal cars, motorcycles and commercial vans using E-ZPass, with higher rates for those using the Tolls-by-Mail option.

These vehicles could see E-ZPass rates ranging anywhere from $9 to $23 during peak periods and from $5 to $12 during overnight hours, depending on the selected scenario.

Higher rates would also be charged to larger vehicles under the first six scenarios, with peak E-ZPass rates for small trucks ranging from $12 to $65 and for large trucks ranging from $12 to $82.

Here’s a look at the seven tolling scenarios.

Scenario A – Base Plan

Credits: No credits for drivers using bridges or tunnels to access the CBD.

Caps and Exemptions: No caps or exemptions for taxis, for-hire vehicles, trucks and buses.

Peak Toll Rate: $9

Off-peak Toll Rate: $7

Overnight Toll Rate: $5

Scenario B – Base Plan with Caps and Exemptions

Credits: No credits for drivers using bridges or tunnels to access the CBD.

Caps and Exemptions: Taxis and for-hire vehicles would be capped at one toll per day; Trucks would be capped at two tolls per day; buses would be exempt from tolls.

Peak Toll Rate: $10

Off-peak Toll Rate: $8

Overnight Toll Rate: $5

Scenario C – Low Crossing Credits for Vehicles Using Tunnels to Access the CBD, with Some Caps and Exemptions

Credits: Credits of up to $6.55 for drivers using tunnels, but not bridges, to access the CBD.

Caps and Exemptions: Taxis would be exempt from tolls; For-hire vehicles would be capped at three tolls per days; Trucks and buses would not be capped.

Peak Toll Rate: $14

Off-peak Toll Rate: $11

Overnight Toll Rate: $7

Scenario D – High Crossing Credits for Vehicles Using Tunnels to Access the CBD

Credits: Credits of up to $13.10 for drivers using tunnels, but not bridges, to access the CBD.

Caps and Exemptions: No caps or exemptions for taxis, for-hire vehicles, trucks and buses.

Peak Toll Rate: $19

Off-peak Toll Rate: $14

Overnight Toll Rate: $10

Scenario E – High Crossing Credits for Vehicles Using Tunnels to Access the CBD, with Some Caps and Exemptions

Credits: Credits of up to $13.10 for drivers using tunnels, but not bridges, to access the CBD.

Caps and Exemptions: Taxis would be exempt from tolls; For-hire vehicles would be capped at three tolls per days; Trucks would not be capped; Transit buses would be exempt, with no cap on other buses.

Peak Toll Rate: $23

Off-peak Toll Rate: $17

Overnight Toll Rate: $12

Scenario F – High Crossing Credits for Vehicles Using Manhattan Bridges and Tunnels to Access the CBD, with Some Caps and Exemptions

Scenario F is the only scenario that would use different time periods to determine peak, off-peak and overnight hours, as listed below.

  • Peak: Weekdays – 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. & 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Peak: Weekends – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Off-peak: Weekdays – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Overnight: Weekdays – 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Overnight: Weekends – 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.

Credits: Credits of up to $13.10 for drivers using tunnels or bridges to access the CBD.

Caps and Exemptions: Taxis, for-hire vehicles and trucks would be capped at one toll per day; Buses would be exempt from tolls.

Peak Toll Rate: $23

Off-peak Toll Rate: $17

Overnight Toll Rate: $12

Scenario G – Base Plan with Same Tolls for All Vehicle Classes

Credits: No credits for drivers using bridges or tunnels to access the CBD.

Caps and Exemptions: No caps or exemptions for taxis, for-hire vehicles, trucks and buses.

Peak Toll Rate: $12

Off-peak Toll Rate: $9

Overnight Toll Rate: $7

ABOUT CONGESTION PRICING

As part of the $175 billion state budget approved on April 1, 2019, the MTA’s Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) has been authorized to establish the Central District Business Tolling Program (CBDTP), which will charge travelers a variable fee for driving into Manhattan’s Central Business District, defined as any area south of 60th Street.

Congestion pricing refers to the use of electronic tolling to charge vehicles for entering certain areas during peak commuting hours, ideally resulting in reduced traffic congestion and increased revenue for transit-oriented projects.

Revenue generated from the program will be bonded against and placed in a designated MTA “lockbox” to fund capital improvements to the city’s ailing mass transit system.

The program is expected to generate $1 billion annually, which will be used to secure $15 billion in bonds for repairs and improvements to the public transportation system.

The electronic tolling system will operate similarly to the cashless tolling system on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, where overhead sensors read drivers’ E-ZPass tags and administer the fee directly to their account.

In the case of non-E-ZPass drivers, the overhead cameras would photograph their license plate, and a bill would be mailed to them directly.

Non-E-ZPass drivers could be subject to a higher fee similar to the “tolls by mail” option that charges drivers higher toll rates on the agency’s bridges and tunnels for those without E-ZPass.

The increased price would be justified by the administrative costs of processing and billing the driver directly.

In October 2019, the MTA selected TransCore to design, construct, operate and maintain the infrastructure and tolling equipment required for the congestion pricing program.

The company is expected to install the majority of toll collection equipment on existing poles and mast arms “as to have a minimal footprint and fit within existing streetscapes.”

Currently, emergency vehicles and those carrying people with disabilities are the only required exemptions from the program, with tax credits in place for residents living within the CBD and earning less than $60,000.

Drivers on the FDR Drive, West Side Highway and the sections of the Battery Park Underpass and Hugh Carey Tunnel that connect the two will not be subject to tolls, unless exiting into the CBD.

Once the MTA completes its next phase of public outreach, the six-member Traffic Mobility Review Board will recommend final toll pricing to the TBTA, which will ultimately determine the toll prices.

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