Transit group suggests tolls into Manhattan to fix MTA

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A transit workgroup made up of lawmakers, MTA board members, transportation experts and business leaders, has made recommendations on how to improve mass transit in New York City.

The Metropolitan Transportation Sustainability Advisory Workgroup published its findings in a 37-page report Tuesday. At the top of the list is the implementation of congestion pricing or tolls for vehicles to enter Manhattan.

The panel made 23 recommendations. It found that tolls into Manhattan could bring in up to $1 billion annually. It also suggested that the MTA, a state-run agency, be dismantled and that control of the subways and buses be returned to the city.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has supported congestion pricing in the past. The idea has been floated around since the Bloomberg administration.

"The option of funding transit through congestion pricing is particularly attractive because it reduces the economic and environmental costs of excess traffic, while allowing surface transit to move faster and increasing transit ridership," according to the report.

Some of the other recommendations include independent audits of construction projects and more, longer-term shutdowns of subway service to make critical repairs and upgrades.

Cuomo and lawmakers had called for the formation of the group after steep declines in ridership on the subways, buses and commuter rails operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The MTA is looking to completely modernize the mass transit system. It needs approximately $40 million in funding to complete the 10-year plan.