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Blue City Weighs Saddling Drivers With Heavy Tolls In Bid To Reduce Emissions

New York received federal approval for its congestion pricing plan to charge large tolls to drive into the most frequented parts of Manhattan in a bid to raise funds for its public transit system, reduce traffic and combat smog in the city, according to the Associated Press.

The plan was approved by the Federal Highway Administration, a spokesperson for Democrat New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told the AP on Monday. The plan could charge drivers up to $23 a day to enter south of 60th Street in Manhattan, although it still hasn’t been decided on by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), according to the AP.

“With the green light from the federal government, we look forward to moving ahead with the implementation of this program,” Hochul said in a statement, according to the AP.

The New York state Legislature approved a conception plan in 2019, but it was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic and federal regulators, according to the AP.

Some Democrats aren’t happy with the plan moving forward. New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez introduced legislation on May 18 that would sanction states that use congestion pricing systems, according to the bill.

“This is nothing more than a cash grab to fund the MTA,” Menendez, New Jersey Democratic Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Bill Pascrell said in a joint statement on Monday. “We are outraged at the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) decision to move forward with the Finding of No Significant Impact for New York’s and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Congestion Tax proposal without conducting a full and comprehensive review of the environmental impacts in New Jersey or the financial impact on low-income communities and commuters.”

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