Congestion Pricing Heads To Court, As Critics Try To Thwart NYC’s $15 Toll With Last Ditch Effort

Photo: Brian Jeffery Beggerly/Flickr

As New York is set to be slapped with a $15 congestion charge to enter Manhattan, a federal judge is set to hear a last-ditch lawsuit to block the upcoming toll, which is set to go live on June 30th.


As New York is set to be slapped with a $15 congestion charge to enter Midtown and Lower Manhattan, a federal judge is set to hear a last-ditch lawsuit to block the upcoming toll, which is set to go live on June 30th.

As previously reported by, New York City commuters who enter lower and midtown Manhattan (below 60th Street). The toll is based on similar congestion pricing schemes in major liberal cities like London, Stockholm and Singapore, the plan is to reduce congestion on Manhattan’s busy streets by tolling drivers who enter the Central Business District.

In March, the MTA’s board of directors set the toll rate for congestion pricing at $15. Cars and small commercial vehicles will be paying with E-ZPass and will be charged $15 during the day and $3.75 at night. Drivers will be charged no more than once a day. Larger vehicles will pay more: Trucks and some buses will be charged a toll of $24 or $36 during the day to enter the zone and $6 or $9 at night. Taxis and black car passengers will pay a $1.25 toll within or through the zone. Uber, Lyft or Revel passengers will pay $2.50. Exemptions can be found here.

The lawsuits, which will be heard as one in front of Federal Judge Lewis Liman, include those filed by New Yorkers Against Congestion Pricing Tax, UFT’s President Michael Mulgrew, and Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, plus another by a group of devoted city residents.

The lawsuit argues that the tolling program would shift traffic and pollution to minority neighborhoods and small businesses. Those in support of the lawsuit are calling for another environmental assessment and say the one the MTA had approved by the Federal Highway Administration last year wasn’t legally comprehensive.

“[The] plaintiffs will suffer negative environmental and socioeconomic consequences of Congestion Pricing. Plaintiffs are all individually harmed by the federal and state government’s failure to follow the environmental, constitutional and rulemaking mandates of federal and state law,” the lawsuit argues.

The lawsuits also claim that the local, state and federal agencies rushed to implement the toll and ignored the findings of the previous environmental reviews. Stating that the “failure foreclosed the possibility of an examination of viable alternatives and proper mitigation in environmental justice neighborhoods in New York City, such as the Lower East Side, the South Bronx and East Harlem.”

Oral arguments started on Friday. The judge is expected to rule in that case early next month, ahead of the planned implementation.

Another lawsuit to block Congestion Pricing was a lawsuit brought by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who argues that congestion pricing should be blocked because it will result in more traffic and pollution in New Jersey. This lawsuit started in April. However, the Judge in that case hasn’t issued a ruling yet.

Many readers pointed out that if New York City actually wants its residents to use public transit, all it has to do is enable law and order in the MTA transit system.

As one Williamsburg reader told, “The far-left progressives in this City are handcuffing the police department by allowing the emotionality disturbed and violent individuals to roam the NYC Subway system en-mass freelythis means that the MTA, Mayor, Governor, State Legislators, Council members and elected officials are not serious, they care more about obsessively taxing everyday New Yorkers because if they would clean up the subway system, charge and hold the criminals responsible, there would be more riders using public transportation on their own.

“Most New Yorkers don’t want to drive into Manhattan, but the subway is a cesspool of crime; those that can bypass the subway avoid it for this very reason.” He added.

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