New York City is still months away from launching the first zone-based tolling program in the United States
The project, which begins in spring 2024, will increase the tolls motorists pay to enter points in Manhattan south of 60th Street.
The final price of the toll has not yet been determined. People familiar with the process estimate it could ultimately cost between $9 and $23 to enter or exit the central business district by private car. According to the law, a tax is levied once a day on passenger cars. A toll fee is charged per trip for commercial and ride-sharing vehicles.
“The policies we’re talking about are not anti-cars,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation. “If you have no choice but to drive, that’s not a good outcome.”
The toll could generate up to $15 billion for investments in the aging MTA system. Much of the money will go toward the 2020-24 MTA capital program. For example, part of the proceeds will finance four new Metro-North stations for communities in the Bronx.
“Extensions tend to be the sexiest, most fun thing we’ve done. But the kinds of things our customers don’t see are power, track and signal improvements,” said Richard Davey, president of New York City’s transit authority.
The MTA is also accelerating investments in clean bus technology. The agency expects to begin experimenting with hydrogen fuel cell bus technology in 2025.
“The manufacturer that uses hydrogen technology is zero-emission. This is a nascent technology,” Davey told CNBC.
Regional planners expect the new toll to have environmental benefits. For example, particulate matter emissions from stop-and-go traffic can trigger illnesses such as asthma.
The MTA study on tolls cites experiences in other global cities, including Milan, London, Singapore and Stockholm. “London has seen a nearly 20% reduction in particulate matter pollution,” said Julie Tighe, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “In Stockholm there is a 15% reduction in particulate matter, which led to a 50% reduction in asthma.”
“It was very unpopular in Stockholm,” said Mollie Cohen D’Agostino, a researcher at the University of California, Davis campus. “It got just enough support to make it through the first test vote. Then in the second vote it got a lot more support… people actually liked it.”
Watch them Video Above you can see how New York City is spending the money raised from the massive new tolls.