(TNS) — The Biden administration on Tuesday cleared a bureaucratic roadblock for New York City’s congestion pricing plan, a major step that allows the MTA to move forward with a system to toll motorists who drive south of 61st St. in Manhattan.
The Federal Highway Administration advised Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials they could complete an environmental review for the program, a much speedier process than an environmental impact statement. New York officials have awaited such guidance from the feds since April 2019, when the state legislature first signed off on congestion pricing.
The program was originally scheduled to go live at the start of 2021, with the toll revenues generating enough money to fund $15 billion of the MTA’s $51.5 billion 2020-2024 capital plan to overhaul New York’s mass transit networks.Gov. Cuomo and MTA chairman Pat Foye have for more than a year blamed the delay on the Trump Administration — and transit officials in November said the program’s launch could be pushed back to 2023.
Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said the new guidance allows for a “prompt and informed” review of how congestion pricing will affect the environment.
“This approach will ensure that the public participates as local and state leaders explore new possibilities for reducing congestion, improving air quality and investing in transit to increase ridership,” Pollack said in a statement.
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