TRENTON – New York officials named their appointees to the panel that will finalize congestion pricing, a key step toward putting a new toll on New Jersey drivers and those from other states by early 2024.

Congestion pricing is expected to reduce private vehicle traffic in Manhattan below 60th Street and provide the Metropolitan Transportation Authority with a substantial stream of money for capital projects.

The Traffic Mobility Review Board will work out the final details of congestion pricing, such as the price and hours of operation. The MTA appointed its five members; the other will come from New York Mayor Eric Adams.

Renae Reynolds, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said the appointments are “a critical next step” forward.

“The agency must move expeditiously to save our streets from crippling traffic congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions as we face a climate emergency, and raise revenue to make desperately needed upgrades to the century-old transportation infrastructure,” Reynolds said.

New York law requires the program to bring in around $1 billion a year, which the MTA would use as collateral to sell $15 billion in bonds to help complete some of its $55 billion in construction plans.

The final set of six public hearings will start next month, focusing on the environmental impact of the plan. Those will be held online from Aug. 25 to 31.

The Congestion Pricing Now coalition, which includes more than 30 organizations, said congestion pricing needs to be implemented swiftly.

“We need to hold the line on exemptions if we are going to achieve the goals of the program enacted into law by the New York state legislature” in 2019, the coalition said.

The Traffic Mobility Review Board will consider exemptions, such as allowing New York residents to pay a small monthly fee to enter the area south of 60th Street without paying a toll each time.

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The MTA also revealed that it now expects it will use up all its federal pandemic recovery funds within two years, by the end of fiscal 2024, and could be short more than $2.7 billion a year in revenue after that.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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