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MTA Announces Major Progress on Congestion Pricing: Traffic Mobility Review Board Empaneled and Environmental Assessment Release Expected Within Two Weeks

Updated July 27, 2022 3:45 p.m.

MTA, NYSDOT & NYCDOT Anticipate Releasing Environmental Assessment On or About Aug. 10 

Partners to Hold Six Public Hearings in August Following Release of Assessment   

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chair and CEO Janno Lieber, on behalf of the MTA, New York State Department of Transportation and New York City Department of Transportation, today announced two significant steps toward the implementation of congestion pricing, known formally as the Central Business District Tolling Program. He announced the empaneling of the program’s Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB) with the appointment of five members. He also announced an anticipated timeframe for the release of the program’s Environmental Assessment, which must be approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for the program to proceed. The document is anticipated to be released on or about Aug. 10, with agencies to hold a series of six virtual public hearings seeking public feedback beginning on Thursday, Aug. 25, and concluding on Wednesday, Aug. 31.  

“Today’s announcements demonstrate that, with Gov. Hochul's strong support, the MTA is forging ahead to implement Congestion Pricing,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “We have overcome huge hurdles and are ready for public comment and a second phase of hearings once the FHWA shortly releases the EA document. And the experienced, talented and diverse group we have selected to serve on the state-mandated Traffic Mobility Review Board will be there to factor it all into their deliberations about pricing, discounts and exemptions." 

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said: “The anticipated release of the Environmental Assessment conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration and with strong support from Governor Hochul, is a significant step toward the implementation of the Central Business District Tolling Program, the next phase of which will include additional public engagement and comment.” 

The agencies will begin collecting public feedback on the Environmental Assessment on or about Aug. 10. Comments will be accepted online as well as email, mail, voicemail, fax and via a series of six hearings, which will be held online and accessible via mta.info/CBDTP at the dates and times listed below. Comments at these sessions will also become part of the formal record. 

  • Thursday, Aug. 25, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
  • Saturday, Aug. 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
  • Sunday, Aug. 28, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Monday, Aug. 29, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, Aug. 30, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, Aug. 31, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Role and Composition of Traffic Mobility Review Board  

Should congestion pricing be approved by the Federal Highway Administration, the TMRB would develop recommendations for toll rates, as well as any credits, discounts, or exemptions and then present the recommendations to the MTA Board for consideration before the program is implemented. Appointing the TMRB members prior to the release of the Environmental Assessment will allow them to benefit directly from the public comment period, reviewing feedback as they learn and understand information provided by the CBDTP Team. 

The TMRB will take into consideration traffic patterns, traffic mitigation measures, operating costs, vehicle types, public impact, public safety, peak and off-peak rates and environmental impacts. Accompanying their recommendations, the TMRB will provide a report on the review and analysis behind its recommendations. Ultimately, the MTA Board (which is also the Board of MTA Bridges and Tunnels, known legally as the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority) will determine the final toll structure after the TMRB’s recommendations.    

The recommendations must ensure collection of annual net revenues and fees necessary to fund at least $15 billion for the MTA’s 2020 to 2024 capital program. 

The Board consists of one appointee recommended by the Mayor of the City of New York, one resident in the Metro-North Railroad region, and one resident in the Long Island Rail Road region. All members have experience in one or more of the following areas: public finance, transportation, mass transit or management.  

The MTA today announces the appointment of the chair of the Traffic Mobility Review Board and four members. A sixth member will be recommended by New York City Mayor Eric Adams. 

Carl Weisbrod, Chair of the Traffic Mobility Review Board     

Carl Weisbrod has more than 35 years of experience serving the people of New York. He has left his mark on some of the city’s most dynamic and fastest-growing neighborhoods, through brokering and leading complex public-private partnerships and creating innovative governance strategies to spur economic development. 

Most recently, Weisbrod served as Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission and Director of the New York City Department of City Planning. He is the founding President of the NYC Economic Development Corporation  Preceding his initial tenure at HR&A ,he managed, on behalf of Trinity Church, the successful rezoning of the Hudson Square area in Manhattan, which transformed the neighborhood into a dynamic hub for creative industries and new housing, including up to 700 affordable units, he led efforts to revitalize two of New York City’s most iconic neighborhoods – Times Square, from the late 1970’s through the early 1990’s, and Lower Manhattan, both pre- and post-9/11. 

Weisbrod is a resident of Manhattan and holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law. He served on the MTA Board from 2017 through 2019, representing the City of New York. 

Traffic Mobility Review Board Members: 

John Banks 

John H. Banks is the President Emeritus of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), and served as president of RENY from March 2015 to June 2019. He served as the Vice President of Government and Community Relations at Con Edison for 15 years and served on the MTA Board from 2004 to 2016 as a representative of the City of New York. 

Banks is a leading advocate for responsible pro-growth public policies to address the critical need to build and maintain housing at all income levels in every New York City neighborhood, commercial space to attract and retain businesses and accommodate the City’s growing population, and additional tax revenue to fund vital government services. During John Banks’ tenure, REBNY had made technology and innovation a focal point of its services with significant enhancements to its Residential Listing Service (RLS) to benefit members and consumers alike with clean, accurate, and comprehensive residential listing data. In 2017, Banks became the Chairman of Building Skills New York, a not-for-profit organization committed to connecting New Yorkers with historically high rates of unemployment and poverty to quality training and expanded career opportunities in the construction industry.     

Banks resides in Pelham Manor, in Westchester County, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Government from Manhattan College and a Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College. He served on the boards of the New York Public Library, Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection. He formerly served on the boards for Manhattan College, Foundling Hospital. 

Scott Rechler 

Scott Rechler currently serves as chair of the Regional Plan Association. He is also the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of RXR, an innovative investor, developer and place-maker committed to applying a customer and community-centered approach to building properties, services, and products that create enduring value for all stakeholders. From 2011 to 2016, Scott served on the Board of Commissioners as Vice Chairman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He later served on the Board of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) from 2017 to 2019.   

In November 2021, Rechler was elected to the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to serve the remainder of an existing term. He was re-elected to a 3-year term at the end of December 2021. In addition to his role at RXR, Rechler currently serves as chair of the Regional Plan Association and resides on Long Island.     

Elizabeth Velez   

Elizabeth Velez spearheads strategic growth and project diversification for the 50-year-old Velez Organization as President and principal, ensuring that the second-generation construction services firm is one of the longest established and successful in the region. To her credit are hundreds of projects which have come to fruition under her direction, including over 600 units of housing made affordable by state and federal grants in the Bronx and Harlem, and over $10 billion of significant educational, healthcare, and large-scale projects throughout New York.      

In 2022, Velez was appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul to the MTA Board. Velez served until 2021 as commissioner of the NYC Property Tax Reform Commission, which produced public inclusive recommendations to create transparency and equity in the NYC tax system. Velez is a graduate of Hofstra University, with both a Bachelors and Masters of Business Administration, and a resident of the Bronx.   

Kathryn Wylde 

Kathryn Wylde is President and CEO of the nonprofit Partnership for New York City whose members are the city’s global business leaders and major employers. In response to COVID-19, the Partnership has been a key liaison between the public and private sectors with respect to health and economic challenges. The Partnership published the first comprehensive analysis of pandemic impact on the city. It has focused recovery efforts on support for small business and advocacy for policies that will restore jobs and retain talent in the city. Kathy also served as the Chairperson of the Metropolitan Transportation Sustainability Advisory Workgroup, which helped to identify and assess public transit and traffic problems across the New York City region.

Prior to taking over as Partnership CEO in 2000, Wylde led the Partnership’s city-wide affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization and business investment programs. She is an urban policy expert and represents the business community on advisory panels dealing with infrastructure, the environment, tax, education, workforce development, human services, and land use/development issues.