NYC congestion pricing: MTA's environmental assessment supports plan

It's a milestone in the process toward bringing congestion pricing to Lower Manhattan.

The MTA released its final environmental assessment and said its findings are positive for the tolling project

The MTA's environmental assessment supports congestion pricing plan for New York City.

The Federal Highway Administration had declared there's no reason to derail or postpone congestion pricing – the plan to toll drivers coming into Manhattan from the 59th Street bridge and heading south of 60th. 

The go-ahead is based on the findings of the project's final environmental assessment.  

The study also considered feedback from dozens of public meetings and tens of thousands of comments. 

In all the issues New Yorkers brought up, the MTA and DOT came up with ways to mitigate them.  

RELATED: NJ lawmakers rail against NYC congestion pricing plan

"There are only a very, very small percentage of people who actually drive to the central business district," Lieber said.  

Yet some disagree, concerned the toll would hurt the low-income the most. 

MTA congestion pricing suggestions

  • The MTA said it would come up with a 25% discount program for eligible drivers. There was concern the toll would ravage the taxi and ride-share industries.
  • The MTA is offering to only toll them once a day, regardless of how many trips they take.
  • Then there are the tractor-trailers, the MTA got in front of that by offering companies a steep 50%-plus discount on tolls between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m., when many start making deliveries.

None of these mitigations are guaranteed, but they're available, clearing up concerns and pushing the project forward.  

"There will probably be somebody who wants to challenge this legally, but I'm confident that this 4,000-page document is going to stand up to scrutiny," Lieber said. 

RELATED: MTA's congestion pricing plan gets green light to move forward

The Environmental Assessment is now released the public for the next 30 days. 

After that, the Federal Highway Administration will make it final decision on congestion pricing. 

The toll rate is still under debate: it could be as low at $9 per vehicle, or as high as $23.