The key? A new administration in Washington D.C., and a new Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he spoke with Secretary Buttigieg to personally implore him to put congestion pricing back in play.
"He heard me loud and clear," the mayor went on to say "New York City's ready to go. I think he's going to do a lot to help us."
In a statement to FOX 5 NY, the Federal Highway Administration says it is now making congestion pricing a "priority" as the agency looks to give guidance in a "timely manner." Under President Trump plans stalled as the FHWA refused to respond to New York, which needed approval to move forward.
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The Chairman of the MTA bluntly tells FOX 5 NY, "After the cynical and indefensible delays from the previous administration, we are pleased to hear that the Federal Highway Administration is now making the Central Business District Tolling Program a priority... We are ready to hit the ground running once we get direction from the FHWA."
Experts say this means congestion pricing could start in early 2022. And they list three central benefits to tolling vehicles that enter Manhattan below 60th street.
- Reducing air pollution and improved health
- Reducing congestion
- Raising funds for mass transit
"We should see emissions improvements pretty quickly..." says Felicia Park-Rogers, the Director of Regional Infrastructure Projects at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, "...the health improvements take a little longer. And in terms of the funds this generates towards helping transit, that should happen within two years.