New York’s congestion pricing program recently won federal approval after completing an environmental review by the Federal Highway Administration. The program, intended to reduce car traffic by as much as 20%, is also expected to improve air quality, and what will surely catch New Yorker’s attention, improve the MTA’s public transportation system.
Now, how can toll collections improve the subway? The MTA will be able to direct $15 billion in net revenues from congestion pricing towards “transformational projects” within the scope of the MTA’s 2020-2024 Capital Program. Possible enhancements would impact subway elevators, signals, platform barriers, fare gates, and surveillance software, reports The New York Times.
According to a recent press release, “The funding will allow the MTA to progress on its aggressive timeline of completing accessibility improvements, along with performing necessary state-of-good repair work to the more-than-a-century old transit system.”
“Congestion pricing will improve the lives of millions by creating a safer, more reliable, and more accessible public transit system,” shared Governor Kathy Hochul in a post.
As for environmental benefits, congestion pricing will reduce vehicle-miles traveled as more commuters will be encouraged to use public transportation over vehicles. This will in turn improve overall regional air quality.
Various factors such as traffic patterns, operating costs, public impact, public safety, vehicle types, peak and off-peak rates, emissions trends and more will need to be considered by the Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB) in order to set a tolling rate structure. If all goes to plan, toll collection could begin as soon as May 2024.