Tolling in Manhattan's central business district moves forward
Even as debates over toll amounts and exemptions continue, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been moving toward making congestion pricing a reality.
And the authority is still expecting the tolling of Manhattan’s central business district will begin in the spring of 2024.
Perhaps the most significant sign of that movement: MTA chief executive Janno Lieber estimated Wednesday that 25% to 30% of the physical infrastructure needed for congestion pricing is already in place. The MTA will need “yard arms” and other equipment that will stretch over the roadways to capture every car that moves across 60th Street and the other boundaries of the tolling district.
“We’re well underway on the physical construction,” Lieber said during a news conference following the MTA’s monthly board meeting.
That nugget came as Lieber was questioned about whether the congestion pricing schedule is realistic, given that the Traffic Mobility Review Board hasn’t finalized any of its decision-making on how the tolling will work or even how much it will cost.
“I think it is realistic,” Lieber said of the time frame that would put the start of tolling by next spring.
A person with an understanding of the planning for the review board told The Point it is expected that the board will make its recommendations on pricing, exemptions and discounts to the MTA board by the end of October. The MTA board then would have to approve the review board’s recommendations. That is expected to happen by the end of the year.
Lieber noted that if the start of congestion pricing changes by a month or so, it won’t matter to the MTA, which will depend upon congestion pricing for its future capital program revenue.
What could impact the MTA and its capital planning?
“We have been clear that if congestion pricing were not to be implemented for some reason, it impacts on all of the projects that remain to be done,” Lieber said, citing state-of-good-repair projects and accessibility efforts.
— Randi F. Marshall email@example.com
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Hearings on Long Beach offshore wind project next month
Public hearings in Long Beach have a long tradition of being quite a show and there is little doubt that the hearing the Public Service Commission has just scheduled for next month on the controversial offshore wind turbine project will not disappoint.
The PSC published notice Wednesday that two hearings on the project — which the notice said includes a 12.2-mile transmission cable connecting the deep water turbine field to a substation in Island Park — will take place at City Hall on Oct. 11. The PSC also outlined additional pieces of the project that had not been previously publicized, including a new substation in Oceanside. Detailed maps of the proposed route will be available.
At both the afternoon and evening sessions, there will be a one-hour information forum followed by a public comment session that “will be kept open until everyone wishing to speak has been heard or other reasonable arrangements have been made to include their comments in the record.”
The PSC said Administrative Law Judges Ashley Moreno and Tara Kersey will preside over the public comment process, which also will include ways to submit remarks online, via a toll-free “opinion line” and via mail.
The notice immediately drew the attention of groups opposed to the Long Beach wind project, some of which already have spread misinformation about the effort, suggesting, for instance, unsubstantiated links between the deaths of whales and the offshore wind work.
“GET READY. Get off work if need be,” wrote one person, in providing information about the hearings on social media. “Hope equinor AND THE COURT BRING THEIR JAMMIES. It’s going to be a long night.”
— Rita Ciolli firstname.lastname@example.org, Randi F. Marshall email@example.com