As recently as June, New York Governor Kathy Hochul indicated that New York City’s controversial Congestion Pricing program would likely be delayed for at least a year. This came after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) was hit with over 400 questions from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in response to the Environmental Assessment of the program that was submitted to FHWA in February.
However, on July 27, the MTA took two major steps to advance the program – scheduling public hearings on the Environmental Assessment and naming members to the Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB). The TMRB will be responsible for setting toll rates and considering any exemptions or discounts, and surprising no-body the board has no representatives from motorists either commercial (which has no option but to enter the zone) or consumer. Instead the board is heavily big real-estate.
Traffic Mobility Review Board Members:
- Carl Weisbrod (Chair of the Board) – Senior Advisor to HR&A Advisors
- John Banks – former President of the Real Estate Board of New York
- Scott Rechler – CEO and Chair of RXT Realty
- Sherif Soliman* – Director, Mayor’s Office of Policy & Planning
- Elizabeth Velez – President of the Velez Organization
- Kathy Wylde – President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City
The MTA has indicated that they will have a response from FHWA as early as August 10 providing them the ability to move the program forward. It’s important to note that this does not mean that the program has officially been approved by FHWA, simply that they are allowing the process to move forward.
Once the Environmental Assessment has been released for public review a series of public hearings will be held to gather official input from stakeholders. The meetings will be held virtually and have been scheduled for:
- 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.
Information on how to register for the hearings will be available on the project website.
The full press release from MTA can be read here.