The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT) and New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) today announced they will hold 13 public meetings between Thursday, September 23, 2021, and Wednesday, October 13, 2021, on the proposed Central Business District Tolling Program (CBDTP), also known as congestion pricing. The meetings, which will all be held virtually, will allow the public in a 28-county region in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey to learn more about the initiative and offer comments.
The Project Sponsors also today launched a website, devoted to sharing information about the program, the environmental review process, gathering public input, and allowing people to register to participate in the public meetings, including three that will focus on minority and/or low-income communities in the Study Area.
The other 10 public meetings will be targeted to broader geographic regions that will also allow members of the public to learn about the program, the environmental review process, and provide comments. The feedback gathered in the public meetings will be part of the Environmental Assessment required by the United State Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that will be published for public review. Following the release of the EA, there will be additional public meetings for comment specifically on the document.
“Today’s announcement comes a week after the MTA, NYS DOT and NYC DOT announced that they received approval from FHWA on a 16-month schedule for the Environmental Assessment and permission to move forward with the public outreach portion of the project. This is the first congestion pricing program in the United States, and it is important that the public have an opportunity to learn about the proposal and to be able to weigh in,” said Janno Lieber, Acting MTA Chair & CEO. “We are committed to getting this project done quickly while providing the public real transparency throughout the process.”
“Implementation of the nation’s first congestion pricing program provides a once-in-lifetime opportunity to reimagine travel into Manhattan’s Central Business District while at the same time reducing harmful carbon emissions, enhancing community health, and improving the reliability of the region’s public transportation alternatives,” said Marie Therese Dominguez, New York State Transportation Commissioner. “It is essential that we hear directly from the public as the Project Sponsors work to assess the program’s impact and finalize its design.”
“Congestion pricing will ease traffic, protect our environment, and deliver the funding our public transit system needs to keep our city moving,” said Hank Gutman, New York City Transportation Commissioner. “As we emerge from this pandemic, we owe it to our fellow New Yorkers to get this project done as quickly as possible. I look forward to continue working with our partner agencies to ensure we make this historic plan a success.”
Ten Regional Public Meetings
Ten virtual meetings will be held, designed to make it easy for those who want to offer public comment or simply watch and learn about the project and process. The various meetings will focus on different geographic areas within the region, though anyone from any area can participate in any meeting that works for them. Those who wish to register to speak can do so by visiting the MTA’s new Central Business District Tolling web portal here. The hearings will be held virtually at these dates and times:
- Thursday, September 23, 2021, 10:00 a.m. to noon, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island;
- Thursday, September 23, 2021, 06:00 p.m. – 08:00 p.m., Manhattan Central Business District (60th Street and below);
- Friday, September 24, 2021, 10:00 a.m. to noon, New Jersey;
- Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 10:00 a.m. to noon, Northern New York City Suburbs;
- Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 06:00 p.m. – 08:00 p.m., Long Island;
- Thursday, September 30, 2021, 06:00 p.m. – 08:00 p.m., the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island;
- Friday, October 01, 2021, 01:00 p.m. – 03:00 p.m., Connecticut;
- Monday, October 04, 2021, 06:00 p.m. – 08:00 p.m., New Jersey;
- Tuesday, October 05, 2021, 06:00 p.m. – 08:00 p.m., Northern New York City Suburbs;
- Wednesday, October 06, 2021, 06:00 p.m. – 08:00 p.m., Manhattan Outside the Central Business District (61st Street and above).
Environmental Justice Outreach
Three additional public meetings will provide individuals and stakeholder groups in identified Environmental Justice communities in the New York, Connecticut and New Jersey Study Area with opportunities to receive information about the proposed program and its potential impacts – positive or negative – on minority or low-income populations. They will also be able to comment on the proposed program and learn about an Environmental Justice Technical Advisory Group and a separate Environmental Justice Stakeholder Working Group that will be created as part of the effort. Residents who identify as living in Environmental Justice communities will learn how they can join the Environmental Justice Stakeholder Working Group or suggest someone else for the Group.
Three virtual meetings will be held, focused on environmental justice communities located respectively in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, though anyone may register to attend any or all of these:
- Thursday, October 07, 2021, 06:00 – 08:00 p.m., New York;
- Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 06:00 p.m. – 08:00 p.m., New Jersey;
- Wednesday, October 13, 2021, 06:00 p.m. – 08:00 p.m., Connecticut.
New Project Website and Phone Lines
The new project website will allow members of the public to learn about the proposed program and anticipated benefits, submit comments, see a schedule of public meetings and register to speak, find out about the Environmental Assessment process, sign up to stay informed with alerts, view the latest news on the program, and more.
Project Sponsors also unveiled two new phone lines. The first, 646-252-7440, would allow the public to leave comments or questions about the proposed program. The second, 646-252-6777, allows the public to hear a brief description of the project, to register to speak at the public meetings, or request in advance language or American Sign Language services, or request language at least five days in advance of each meeting. American Sign Language services and CART Captioning will be provided for all meetings.
The Central Business District Tolling Program was authorized by the State in April 2019 and modeled on urban congestion pricing programs around the world to reduce traffic congestion and raise needed revenue to improve public transportation. Other cities across the world that have similar programs have also experienced improved air quality. If approved by FHWA, the CBDTP would be the first such program in the United States.