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The majority of the MTA board approved a congestion pricing plan for New York City that will charge vehicles $15 to enter Manhattan below 61st Street and higher tolls for trucks. Only one board member opposed the proposal, allowing for toll collection to begin as early as June 15. The plan was approved last year and is now in the final stages of approval following clarifications and exemptions. Despite opposition from groups like taxi advocates, the MTA insists that congestion pricing is necessary to improve transit and reduce air pollution.

Congestion pricing will affect any driver entering the Central Business District (CBD) in Manhattan, with different toll rates for different types of vehicles ranging from $7.50 for motorcycles to $36 for large trucks. The toll will be in effect during the day on weekdays and weekends but reduced during off-hours. Drivers will only be charged once per day and will not be charged to leave the zone. The board predicts a 17% reduction in vehicles and a revenue generation of $15 billion, which will be used to modernize public transportation in the city.

Exemptions from the toll are limited, with only specialized government vehicles and emergency vehicles being completely exempt. Low-income drivers earning less than $50,000 can apply to pay half the toll price after the first 10 trips in a month. There will also be crossing credits for drivers using tunnels to enter Manhattan, providing discounts for those already paying tolls at certain crossings. Despite requests for exemptions from various groups, including public-sector employees and those driving electric vehicles, none were granted. The plan faces opposition from groups like the United Federation of Teachers, who plan to challenge it in court.

The MTA expects to begin congestion pricing following a 60-day public information campaign and 30-day testing period. The plan aims to reduce traffic congestion in Manhattan and provide much-needed funds for improving the city’s aging transit system. The toll system will include a $1.25 surcharge for taxi and rideshare trips, with different rates for different types of vehicles. The ultimate goal is to modernize mass transit in the city while reducing air pollution and improving overall transportation efficiency.

With the approval of congestion pricing, drivers entering Manhattan below 61st Street will face toll charges, with exemptions primarily limited to government vehicles and emergency services. The toll rates vary depending on the type of vehicle, with discounts available for certain groups like low-income drivers after a set number of trips in a month. Critics have raised concerns about the impact of congestion pricing on certain drivers and industries, while the MTA maintains that it is necessary for improving transit and reducing air pollution in the city. The plan includes provisions for reduced tolls during off-peak hours and aims to generate revenue for modernizing public transportation in New York.

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