I am writing in support of congestion pricing and to urge you to select a plan that maximizes traffic reduction, provides cleaner air for the entire region, and avoid exemptions to ensure the fee for the many is as low as necessary to provide the funding the MTA is required to generate. As the regional population and commerce have grown, so has traffic and gridlock – which causes higher greenhouse gas emissions and worse air pollution throughout the Tri-State Area.
In 2020 and 2021, New York City ranked worst among American cities with the most traffic congestion in the country. The Environmental Assessment tells us what we already knew: Congestion pricing means fewer cars on the road and less air pollution, not just for the Manhattan Central Business District but for the region.
Congestion pricing is essential to meet the goals of the MTA’s Capital Plan, leading to more reliable transit service on buses, subways and commuter rails. The single biggest piece of capital plan funding ‒ $15 billion ‒ is expected to come from congestion pricing. If congestion pricing is NOT approved, the MTA will be in a more dire financial situation. This will put further pressure on its budget, which could lead to higher fares.
The Environmental Assessment is adequate and has done the job of identifying congestion pricing impacts on specific neighborhoods and populations of people. We urge you to also select an approach that limits exemptions and traffic diversions, especially truck traffic along the Cross Bronx Expressway and Staten Island Expressway, and to work with communities to mitigate any such impacts before congestion pricing is implemented.
Thank you for advancing this critical policy to cut congestion, improve our air quality, fight climate change and fix our transit.