Big Price Increases Coming for City Commuters

Big Price Increases Coming for NYC Commuters

( – The White House gave its blessing on May 5 to a New York City plan to increase the price commuters pay to drive into Manhattan to decrease congestion.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul back the pricing plan, and a division of the federal Department of Transportation gave it the go-ahead last week. But not all Democrats are happy with the scheme. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, along with other Democrats and some Republicans, are objecting.

Murphy called the plan “unfair and ill-advised” in a written statement. He said the White House’s approval is happening without a comprehensive environmental impact study. He also objected that the plan conflicted with the Biden Administration’s other goals, such as the Justice40 initiative.

Justice40 is a policy program the White House has committed to that requires 40 percent of certain federal environmental money to be sent to what it calls “disadvantaged” and “overburdened” communities. Many observers see this as a veiled reference to majority-black and minority cities and regions.

Murphy is also fighting his own state’s corner, arguing that increased tolls will affect New Jersey commuters more than others. Several other lawmakers agree. A bipartisan group sent a letter to Gov. Hochul in the first week of May arguing that the pricing move would be an “unfair hit to New Jersey families” that will double the amount of tolls paid by 400,000 Garden State commuters.

Murphy said he is considering legal action against the plan.

Other Democrats are unhappy with the congestion pricing plan, but not because it will cost citizens money. Democratic U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres from New York said he likes the congestion pricing concept but that the Administration’s version would increase diesel pollution in the Bronx by diverting traffic through that borough.

Pricing for the proposal will be steep. Commuters to downtown Manhattan will pay a whopping $23 to enter during peak hours.

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