NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Area drivers are wondering how much congestion pricing is going to cost. The plan is meant to reduce traffic and fix the transit system by charging drivers coming into Manhattan.

A new study offers a first inkling of what drivers might pay, CBS2’s Reena Roy reported Tuesday.

It’s no secret the looming congestion pricing plan has drivers on the edges of their seats.

“I’m nervous about it, yeah. I pay enough tolls,” one person said.

The fine details are still a mystery as officials try to decide on a fee for all vehicles entering Manhattan south of 60th Street. Commuters, especially, have been left in the dark.

“I’m really confused about it,” one commuter said.

Residents who live outside the proposed congestion pricing zone fear drivers will try to beat the tolls by parking in northern Manhattan. (Photo: CBS2)

But now we’re seeing possible ballpark prices for the first time through a new, independent study by the non-profit Regional Plan Association — or RPA — which came up with
four scenarios, recommending fees ranging from $6 to $9.

Web Extra: Read The Regional Plan Association’s Report

The cheaper option would be a flat all-day rate, reducing traffic by 10 percent. The most expensive, during peak times, would bring congestion down 15 percent.

“What?!? It’s expensive as it is with parking alone here,” one person said.

“I’ll have to reconsider where I’ll work,” another said.

Web Extra: CBSN New York’s urban affairs expert Mark Peters breaks down the congestion pricing report —

 

RPA President Tom Wright said $9.18 at peak times hits the sweet spot. It would keep pricing fair, with a lower option during off-peak times, telling CBS2 it would be most effective in unclogging streets and raising money to fix public transit.

“If you go down to scenario D, the a.m. peak price is almost 50 percent higher, but what it would do is incentivize more people to drive off peak when the toll would be even lower and that way it makes the whole system work better,” Wright said.

CBS2 urban affairs expert Mark Peters told CBS2 the cumbersome changes could all be worth it.

“This has obviously been done in other cities and has worked well in other cities, so there’s every reason to believe that if this is implemented intelligently and thoughtfully that it can both reduce congestion and raise necessary the funds to improve mass transit,” Peters said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it will be looking into the RPA’s study. Meanwhile, the state agency is currently putting together a six-person panel that will be responsible for making a final decision on the congestion pricing plan by the end of next year. It will then go into effect in 2021.