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Central Business District Tolling Program

The Central Business District Tolling Program (CBDTP) would lower traffic and help MTA improve its transit system. Vehicles that enter or remain in Manhattan’s Central Business District (CBD) would be tolled. Prior studies have shown that programs similar to the CBDTP can improve air quality. Investing in an improved mass transit system could help promote equity by providing expanded access to the system.

WATCH: Learn about the Central Business District Tolling Program

Contact us

Online: Submit a comment here

Email: CBDTP@mtabt.org

Mail: CBD Tolling Program, 2 Broadway, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10004

Phone: 646-252-7440

Fax: 212-504-3148

The Central Business District Tolling Program (CBDTP) would be the first congestion pricing program in the United States. The Environmental Assessment, which the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has said we must undertake, will look at the environmental effects of the program. Congestion pricing has helped other cities around the world and we believe it would also help the people who visit, live, or work in the New York City metropolitan region. By reducing traffic and helping improve mass transit, the CBDTP would also make it faster to travel and would improve air quality.

Why New York City Needs Central Business District Tolling

Congestion is bad for businesses, residents, and visitors. 

Before COVID-19, 700,000 vehicles entered the Central Business District (CBD) each day. That was more than 255 million vehicles each year. Average traffic speeds were only 7 miles per hour in the CBD, and even slower in Midtown. While traffic dropped to 30% of normal levels in April 2020, by Summer 2021 it was close to where it was before COVID-19 began. This congestion is bad for the economy, the environment, and the quality of life for people who live in the CBD, as well as for commuters, business owners, and visitors.

Congestion makes travel slow and unreliable. Traffic increases the time it takes to get somewhere, reduces bus service quality, and costs businesses, since workers cannot do as much when they spend a lot of time in traffic.

Quick Facts on Congestion

  • Congestion has clogged Manhattan streets for decades, with approximately 700,000 vehicles, pre-pandemic, entering the CBD daily, according to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council. 
  • While traffic dropped to roughly 30% of normal levels in April 2020, it rebounded quickly; by Summer 2021, it was close to pre-pandemic levels.
  • The American Lung Association’s 2021 "State of the Air" report lists the NY Metro region as among the 15 worst for ozone pollution in the United States. 
  • Congestion in the New York City region will cost businesses, commuters, and residents $100 billion over the next five years, according to a 2018 analysis by the Partnership for New York City. 
  • New York City was ranked as the worst among U.S. cities in terms of congestion by the 2020 INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard. 
  • New Yorkers lose 133 hours on average each year due to traffic congestion, which costs them $1,859 in lost productivity and other costs. 
  • Between 2010 and 2018, average travel speeds in the Manhattan CBD decreased 23%, from 9.1 mph to 7 mph. 

Our Public Transit Needs Investment

Public transit is important to the New York City metropolitan region. Before COVID-19, more than 75% of trips into the area south of 60th Street in Manhattan were made by bus, subway, commuter railroad, or ferry. The millions of people living in the New York City metropolitan region need easy transit options. Problems in the system cause people to be late to work; miss medical, school, and other important appointments; and to spend more time away from family.

MTA ridership had increased nearly 50% in the 20 years before COVID-19. At the same time, the money invested in the MTA for public transit improvements fell by 8%. The MTA needs a regular source of money for its $54.1 billion 2020-2024 Capital Plan. The revenue from the Central Business District Tolling Program (CBDTP) would help maintain and modernize the existing transportation system, and help provide more capacity, reliability, and accessibility. It would also help low-income and minority communities.

After paying the cost of running the CBDTP, 80% of the money would be used to improve and modernize New York City Transit, which runs the subway system and buses; 10% would go to Long Island Rail Road, and 10% to Metro-North Railroad. A regular source of money from the CBDTP that can be used only for subway, bus, and commuter railroad projects would help make them all faster, more accessible, and more reliable for everyone.

Benefits of Central Business District Tolling Program

The Central Business District Tolling Program could deliver many benefits for New York City, including:

  • Reduced traffic in and around the Manhattan CBD
  • A regular source of money to improve and modernize MTA subway, bus, and commuter railroads
  • Better air quality
  • Promoting equity by providing expanded access to the transit system
  • Reduced travel times

The Proposed Central Business District Tolling Zone

The Central Business District Tolling Zone would cover 60th Street in Manhattan and all the roadways south of 60th Street, except for:

  • FDR Drive
  • West Side Highway/9A, Battery Park Underpass, and any surface roadway portions of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel connecting to West Street

How the Central Business District Tolling Program Would Work

If the Central Business District Tolling Program Environmental Assessment is approved by the Federal Highway Administration, vehicles that enter or remain in the Central Business District would be tolled. The toll would be paid using an E-ZPass. If you do not have an E-ZPass, toll bills would be mailed to the address of the registered vehicle owner and they would pay the bill through Tolls by Mail.

Sensors and cameras would be located above the roadway on poles that look like those used for sidewalk lights or traffic lights. 

 

BusCabTraffic
Congestion in Manhattan Can Pac Swire

When and How Toll Amounts Would Be Decided

In April 2019, the state enacted the MTA Reform and Traffic Mobility Act (the Act), which states that the MTA's Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) needs to design, develop, build, and run the Central Business District Tolling Program (CBDTP).

The next step is an Environmental Assessment (EA), which is required by the federal government. It will look at the potential environmental effects of the CBDTP. The EA process will include robust public outreach. If the federal government approves the program, it can be implemented.

There are two ways that the tolls would be set:

1. The Act says the CBDTP must:

  • Charge passenger vehicles only once each day for entering or remaining in the Central Business District (CBD)
  • Change the toll rates at set times or days; this is called variable tolling
  • Allow residents of the CBD making less than $60,000 to get a New York State tax credit for CBD tolls paid
  • Not toll qualifying authorized emergency vehicles and qualifying vehicles transporting people with disabilities

2.  A Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB) would recommend toll rates to the MTA’s TBTA Board, which has final say on what the rates could be. The TMRB must think about many things before it could recommend toll rates, including:

  • How traffic might move
  • Air quality and pollution
  • Costs
  • Effect on the public
  • Safety

The Act also says the TMRB would need to recommend a plan for credits, discounts and/or exemptions for:

  • Tolls paid the same day on bridges and tunnels
  • Some types of for-hire vehicles

Once the TMRB recommends the toll rates, TBTA would then follow its process for setting tolls, which includes a public hearing. That final decision on tolls would include:

  • The toll for each type of vehicle
  • How and when the tolls would change
  • Any other credits, discounts and/or exemptions

Contact us

Online: Submit a comment here

Email: CBDTP@mtabt.org

Mail: CBD Tolling Program, 2 Broadway, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10004

Phone: 646-252-7440

Fax: 212-504-3148

Clemens v. Vogelsang
Congestion on Manhattan Streets Photo by Clemens v. Vogelsang

Traffic Mobility Review Board

How the review board will be formed

The MTA Reform and Traffic Mobility Act (the Act) says that the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) Board will create a new board with six people, called the Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB).

The six people would be a Chair and five others. One of the people will be recommended by the mayor of the City of New York. One of the people will reside in the Metro-North Railroad region. One of the people will reside in the Long Island Rail Road region.

Public Meetings

After holding 13 successful public virtual sessions, three new webinars focusing on Environmental Justice communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have been added to the CBDTP public outreach meeting schedule. 

Upcoming Environmental Justice Public Meetings:

New York

Tuesday, October 26, 6-8 p.m. (sign up to speak)

New Jersey

Wednesday, October 27, 6-8 p.m. (sign up to speak)

Connecticut

Thursday, October 28, 6-8 p.m. (sign up to speak)

 

While the individual meetings will focus on a specific state, anyone can sign up for whichever one they want, or all three if they so desire.

Those wanting to sign up can do so until 5:30 p.m. the day before the meeting takes place on the CBDTP project website, or our public meeting hotline at (646) 252-6777.

Anyone who needs accessibility or language assistance services can find out how to do so at https://new.mta.info/project/CBDTP/accessibility-and-language-services

People who don't sign up to speak in advance but decide they want to during the webinar will be given an opportunity.

Those who wish to speak, or simply want to watch, can join the meeting, or meetings, by:

PC/Tablet/Smartphone: https://mta.zoom.us/j/82606738045

Webinar ID: 826 0673 8045

Phone: Dial-in: +1 888 788 0099 (Toll Free)

Webinar ID: 826 0673 8045 # then #

The meetings will also be livestreamed at https://new.mta.info/project/CBDTP  

Public meetings provide opportunities to:

  • Get information about the Central Business District Tolling Program (CBDTP), and provide comments, input, and concerns ahead of the release of the Environmental Assessment (EA)
  • Learn about the EA being conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate the effects of the CBDTP

Past meetings and video presentations explaining the project are posted around the clock in the Latest News section of our project website.

Regional Public Meetings To Date:

Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island

Thursday, September 23 (click here to view meeting)

Manhattan CBD (60th Street and below)

Thursday, September 23 (click here to view meeting)

New Jersey

Friday, September 24 (click here to view meeting)

Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester Counties

Wednesday, September 29 (click here to view meeting)

Long Island

Wednesday, September 29 (click here to view meeting)

Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island 

Thursday, September 30 (click here to view meeting)

Connecticut

Friday, October 1 (click here to view meeting)

New Jersey

Monday, October 4 (click here to view meeting)

Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester Counties

Tuesday, October 5 (click here to view meeting)

Manhattan Outside CBD (61st Street and above)

Wednesday, October 6 (click here to view meeting)

Environmental Justice Public Meetings To Date:

New York

Thursday, October 7 (click here to view meeting)

New Jersey

Tuesday, October 12 (click here to view meeting)

Connecticut

Wednesday, October 13 (click here to view meeting)

 

Additional ways to leave comments, please use the following:

Online: Submit a comment here 

Email: CBDTP@mtabt.org

Mail: CBD Tolling Program, 2 Broadway, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10004

Phone: 646-252-7440

Fax: 212-504-3148

WATCH: Presentation for Environmental Justice Communities On CBDTP Project

Environmental Justice Communities

Federal agencies, including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), are required to consider whether their proposed actions would result in disproportionately high and adverse effects on minority and/or low-income populations (also known as environmental justice populations) and, if any, to address as appropriate. This includes providing opportunities for full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities.

The United States Department of Transportation and FHWA essentially define minority and low-income individuals and populations for this purpose as follows:

  • Minority: a person who is Black, Hispanic or Latino, Asian American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • Low-Income: a person whose median household income is at or below the United States Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines
  • Population: any readily identifiable group of minority and/or low-income persons who live in geographic proximity, and, if circumstances warrant, geographically dispersed/transient persons of those groups who will be similarly affected

The New York Metropolitan region is home to a diverse population and includes many communities and neighborhoods where minority and low-income populations live and work. The study area for the Central Business District Tolling Program (CBDTP, the Project) includes New York City; Long Island; counties north of New York City; portions of southern Connecticut; and portions of northern and central New Jersey.

  • 52% of the study area identify themselves as non-White
  • 15% identify themselves as African-American
  • 10% identify themselves as Asian
  • 23% identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino
  • 13% of the study area are low-income

The Project Sponsors have begun public outreach activities throughout the environmental review communities for the Project. These activities are designed to include coordination with elected officials and community leaders; environmental justice (EJ) webinar-style community meetings; and establishment of a CBDTP Technical Advisory Group and an Environmental Justice Stakeholder Working Group.

The purpose of the Environmental Justice Stakeholder Working Group is to provide a forum for people within the EJ communities who would like to share concerns and ideas, or want to know more about particular issues. The purpose of the CBDTP Technical Advisory Group is to help identify concerns of those in EJ communities, propose mitigation if needed, and help circulate information as widely as possible. 

You may express interest in joining or suggest someone else for the Environmental Justice Stakeholder Working Group by clicking here.

Three virtual meetings focusing on EJ communities have already been held, one each for relevant counties in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Additional meetings have been scheduled for October 2021.

Public meetings provide individuals and stakeholder groups with opportunities to:

  • Receive information about the proposed CBDTP and its potential positive and negative impacts on EJ communities
  • Comment on the proposed program
  • Learn about Environmental Justice Stakeholder Working Groups that will be created as part of the project and opportunities to directly serve/suggest other participants.

Accessibility and Language Assistance Services

At any of the project public meetings, CART Captioning and American Sign Language services will be available.

Members of the community who are deaf or hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or the free 711 relay service, and then ask to be connected to the Public Meeting Hotline at (646) 252-6777 to speak with an agent.

Members of the community who are blind or have low vision can request accommodations no later than five business days prior to each meeting.

  • To submit a request online, please navigate to the meeting date you'd like to attend and below the date will be a link in which you can either sign-up to speak or request services.
  • Requests may also be made by calling the Public Meeting Hotline at (646) 252-6777.

Members of the community who do not have access to a computer or who do not have access to the Internet can listen to each of the meetings by calling the Zoom meeting at 1-888-788-0099 (Toll Free). Then enter Webinar ID 826 0673 8045, followed by the pound (#) sign and then the pound (#) sign again.


If language assistance or any other accommodations are required, please submit a request at least five business days before the scheduled meeting date in one of the following ways:

  • To submit a request online, please navigate to the meeting date you'd like to attend and below the date will be a link in which you can either sign-up to speak or request services.
  • Calling the Public Meeting Hotline at (646) 252-6777
  • Sending a letter to MTA Government & Community Relations, Re: MTA CBDTP Public Meetings, 2 Broadway, D17.140, New York, NY 10004

For those who request language assistance in the given timeframe, the MTA will provide translated information.

Congestion Pricing Success Stories

Other major cities have congestion pricing. All have been successful.

According to the FHWA Lessons Learned from International Experience in Congestion Pricing Final Report:

Stockholm

  • 25% reduction in traffic congestion
  • 25% increase in average speeds
  • 10-14% drop in carbon dioxide pollution
  • 6-9% increase in use of public transportation

London

  • 25% drop in congestion in central London
  • 30% increase in average speeds
  • 20% drop in carbon dioxide pollution

Singapore

  • 24% drop in weekday traffic entering the Central Business Zone
  • Increase in average travel speeds

Sources:

American Lung Association (2021, April). State of the Air 2021.

Federal Highway Administration (2008, August). Lessons Learned from International Experience in Congestion Pricing

INRIX (2020). 2020 Global Traffic Scorecard.

Partnership for New York City (2018, January). $100 Billion Cost of Traffic Congestion in Metro New York

Agency logos of Federal Highway Administration, New York State Department of Transportation, New York City Department of Transportation, and Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Contact us

Online: Submit a comment here

Email: CBDTP@mtabt.org

Mail: CBD Tolling Program, 2 Broadway, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10004

Phone: 646-252-7440

Fax: 212-504-3148