(Bloomberg) -- Motorists paying a tunnel toll into Manhattan may get a break on the city’s new congestion pricing fee.
New York City is inching closer to implementing the congestion charge to drive into Manhattan’s central business district. Yet drivers who already pay a fee on four tunnels going into the island may get a discount of as much as $7 off the new toll.
A six-member Traffic Mobility Review Board tasked with creating the new tolling structure is looking to extend that credit to drivers who use the Holland Tunnel, the Lincoln Tunnel, the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to go into Manhattan.
“We’re coming to a consensus on several issues and we’re not entirely there on every issue, but on crossing credits we’re close and we’re in a range,” Carl Weisbrod, chair of the Traffic Mobility Review Board and a former director of New York City’s Department of City Planning, told reporters after the panel met on Monday.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates New York City’s subways, buses and commuter rail roads is implementing the congestion pricing plan, a first in the US. MTA officials expect it to bring in $1 billion a year that they will borrow against to raise $15 billion for infrastructure projects to modernize the system.
The congestion pricing program will charge motorists driving south of 60th street in Manhattan with the goal of reducing congestion and air pollution in the area. E-ZPass drivers may pay as much as $23 during peak hours. The more discounts and exemptions, the closer the program will reach the $23 charge, something the TMRB is trying to avoid.
“We certainly don’t want it to be $23 and we want to keep it below that,” Weisbrod told reporters after the meeting. And as far below that as we can get it, that’s what we’re going to do.”
While TMRB members had previously discussed the issue of allowing crossing credits, Monday’s meeting was the first time the panel released the potential discount range of $4 to $7 detailed in four different tolling scenarios. Those proposals didn’t include what the base congestion tolling fee could be.
The tolling board now also seems to prefer charging the toll upon entering the congestion pricing zone, rather than charging both to enter and exit the area.
The tolling board is also considering charging taxi passengers as much as $1.50 and people who use for-hire vehicles as much as $2.75 for rides that start in or enter the congestion pricing zone. Before Monday’s meeting, the panel was mulling charging taxi and for-hire drivers the congestion pricing toll once a day.
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