NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is possible relief on the horizon for drivers in the city. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s plan to charge drivers entering Manhattan’s Central Business District could be delayed or even shut down.

It turns out, congestion pricing needs to wait for federal approval.

Underground, the city’s subways and trains are still moving. But the traffic on the streets may no longer be the only thing at a standstill. The MTA’s congestion pricing plan has hit a potential roadblock, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported Monday.

A police officer controls the traffic in Times Square, downtown Manhattan, on July 1, 2017. (Photo by Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)

“When they’re going to make such big changes, they should do due diligence,” Upper West Side resident Fran Heller said.

“Before you start a project, run some tests,” another New Yorker added.

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The Federal Highway Administration says the MTA must first obtain its permission before the transit agency begins final design and construction needed to charge vehicles entering Manhattan below 60th Street. The possible delay or cancellation is drivers not looking forward to paying a toll.

“There is a stereotype that the only people driving in New York City are rich people,” said Judy Dodd of Hell’s Kitchen.

“The city makes enough money,” added Rico Davis of South Jersey.

Others disagree, saying the faster the city could implement the congestion fee plan, the better to fund mass transit and ease congestion.

“We have all the traffic that we can possibly stand,” said Keith Sabin of Hell’s Kitchen.

“If the federal government doesn’t approve it, that’s a real concern,” added Lisa Daglian, the executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. “Some of the roads in New York City have gotten federal funding, so they have the responsibility to do the oversight of the environmental aspects of it.”

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While the FHA conducts environmental research, Daglian said she wants the MTA to appoint the Traffic Mobility Review Board as soon as possible. It will set the congestion fees.

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The MTA seemingly is not backing down to the warning from Washington, issuing the following statement to CBS2:

“The MTA has an ongoing dialogue with the federal government and has been responsive to all requests for information on the program. We will continue to work with all our partners to enact this first-in-the-nation program, which will serve as a game-changer for New York by delivering billions to invest in our transit system, reduce congestion, and improve air quality and the environment. The MTA’s work remains on schedule, with the selection of the contractor to build, operate and maintain the toll system infrastructure and notice to proceed with work, each completed a month ahead of schedule.”

CBS2 has learned the tolling program will not be operational earlier than Dec. 31 of this year.


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