• Wed. Sep 21st, 2022

NYC yellow cab drivers see red on MTA’s proposed congestion pricing plan – NBC New York

ByElla E. Kidwell

Aug 25, 2022

The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s proposed and controversial plan for congestion pricing in Manhattan’s broadband continues to move forward, even as a group very familiar with the streets of New York rallied against it outside the governor’s office. .

Dozens of drivers gathered outside Gov. Kathy Hochul’s downtown office on Wednesday, a rally on the eve of the start of a series of public hearings on the plan.

“Nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen. And if they do this to us, the yellow cab industry is over,” taxi driver Nick Skafidas said.

These hearings will consist of six virtual sessions over the course of a week and are designed to get public input on the main proposal that would add a toll to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street. This toll can range from $9 to $23 during peak hours, $7 to $17 off peak, and at least $5 even during the night.

“We are outraged and disgusted by the financial grab from the MTA,” said Bhairavi Desai, president of the Taxi Workers Alliance President, the union for taxi drivers.

Dozens of drivers tried to argue that they were already paying a congestion charge and that they shouldn’t have to pay a new toll to enter Manhattan starting in 2023. Other officials – mostly those from outer boroughs or nearby towns in New Jersey, Westchester County and Long Island — complained the toll would only cause traffic jams elsewhere.

MTA President Janno Lieber said “there may be localized impacts,” but the study would mitigate those impacts.

The MTA has released its most important details to date. Romney Smith reports on what it might look like for people driving in Manhattan.

The big question many, including taxi drivers, are asking: who, if anyone, would be exempt? Although, as one defender explained, too many exemptions would not be a good thing.

“The more exemptions, the more everyone pays,” said Renae Reynolds of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Overall, congestion pricing not only reduces congestion, but improves air quality.”

Transit advocates and environmental groups say congestion pricing could generate $15 billion to upgrade the subway system and improve the bus fleet.

Meanwhile, the MTA chose a panel of experts to recommend exact details, such as the exact location of license plate readers and who could drive without paying. This panel said nothing about their initial thoughts.

“Unfortunately, we are not doing any interviews until the public hearings are over and all requests for interviews must be coordinated through the MTA,” a board member said.

Critics from both sides of the political aisle are joining forces a week after the MTA revealed the city’s congestion driving plan. Reporting by Andrew Siff of News 4.

In a statement, the transit agency said Wednesday that cars like taxis were part of the congestion problem in the city.

“Anyone who has been to New York City in the last decade knows that rental vehicles are part of the story of congestion in Manhattan’s central business district, which has adverse effects on air quality and slows the economy,” the MTA spokesperson said. Jon McCarthy. “Seven scenarios were analyzed to reduce congestion, with a range of different approaches for taxis and rental vehicles. These scenarios are not presented by the MTA or anyone else at this point as proposals, but public review and comment is an important part of the federal process.

As for who will actually be at Thursday’s virtual hearing, it will be a hearing officer and representatives of the project’s three sponsors: the MTA, NYSDOT and NYCDOT. The Federal Highway Administration will also be present. Public comments will begin shortly after an introduction, although moderators will not be shown on screen.

After public hearings, the next step is Federal Highway Administration approval by the end of 2022. If and when that happens, the congestion pricing countdown begins showing how much to charge and when it starts.