NYC small business owners join suit against congestion pricing

New York City small business owners announced Tuesday that they are joining a class action lawsuit to try and stop congestion pricing.

For businesses like Wall Street Grill in Lower Manhattan, fears of the potential impact of congestion pricing on business led them to join the suit.

RELATED: The case for NYC congestion pricing, according to advocates

According to owner Steven Traube, the restaurant, which used to serve 150 patrons a day before the COVID-19 pandemic, now serves 50 and what customers it does get generally drive into the city to eat at lunch. 

"I’m more worried about the customers just staying out of the zone because there are so many alternatives," said Steven Traube, owner of Wall Street Grill.

Traube and two dozen other small business owners rallied at City Hall on Tuesday to demand a new environmental impact study be conducted before the toll goes into effect. They claim that the $15 toll will bankrupt retail stores and restaurants south of 60th Street. 


Hudson Valley lawmakers join fight against NYC congestion pricing plan

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from upstate New York is signing onto a lawsuit against congestion pricing.

"This is simply a scheme to take billions of dollars from the taxpayers of New York City and funnel it into a failing agency," said Brooklyn councilman, Kalman Yager.

Opponents of congestion pricing claim the MTA was in such a rush to get the tax through that it completely overlooked how it affects businesses still recovering from COVID, their employees that have to travel to work, the increases in delivery prices, and what it will do to prices of goods since businesses are forced to pass the cost onto the customers.

MTA CEO Janno Lieber disagrees.

"The business community has been a strong supporter of congestion pricing for many years," said Lieber.

The MTA argues that congestion pricing will help the business community thrive by getting people out of gridlock and onto public transit, which will be much improved by the $1 billion generated by the toll. 

"They’ll tell you that everyone should park their cars and get onto the subway. The subway? This subway? The one in New York City? The one where you risk your life to get on it?" said Yager.

Critics point to the impact of congestion pricing on London. According to the New York Post, after the toll went into effect, business plunged 30 percent.

"I’m not happy about it. We’re going to do whatever we can. That’s the reason why we joined this lawsuit," said Traube.

This latest suit joins lawsuits filed by the state of New Jersey and Staten Island and the United Federation of Teachers, all of which according to the MTA, are slowing down their plan to bring critical upgrades at stations across the city.