The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently determined that an Environmental Assessment (EA) is the appropriate next step for the New York City Congestion Pricing project, which would manage Midtown traffic congestion using tolls.
FHWA officials had previously explained that New York must become part of FHWA’s Value Pricing Pilot Program (VPPP) to be able to implement congestion pricing. Entering this program triggers a review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). New York officials had reached out to FHWA requesting feedback on the appropriate level of review under NEPA.
“The FHWA looks forward to assisting New York so we can arrive at a prompt and informed NEPA determination on this important and precedent-setting project,” Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said in a statement. “This approach will ensure that the public participates as local and state leaders explore new possibilities for reducing congestion, improving air quality and investing in transit to increase ridership.”
Under the proposal, local officials would charge a once-daily variable toll for vehicles entering or remaining within the “Central Business District”—a cordoned area stretching from 60th Street in Midtown to Battery Park. The stated goals of the local officials include reducing congestion, improving air quality, creating a sustainable capital funding source for transit, increasing transit ridership, and improving transit services for low-income residents.
The plan would generate $15 billion over four years for the MTA for needed improvements in the existing transit system. If implemented, the proposal would become the nation’s first cordon congestion pricing toll zone of this scale.
FHWA says the EA will analyze traffic volumes and air quality impacts of the proposed tolling program.
SOURCE: Federal Highway Administration