NEW YORK — From “The Point with Marcia Kramer,” CBS2 is learning of a new delay in the controversial congestion pricing plan.
The head of the MTA exclusively told CBS2 he expects its implementation to be delayed as the agency works through a number of environmental and other concerns.
Janno Lieber made the disclosure on CBS2’s political talk show, “The Point with Marcia Kramer.”
Concerns about potential pollution hot spots and evaluating other concerns are pushing back the start of the MTA’s plans to charge drivers new fees to enter the Central Business District below 60th Street.
“It’s gonna take a little while, probably early 2024, before anything really happens,” Lieber said.
“Isn’t that later than you had originally suggested? Didn’t you originally suggest it was 2023?” Kramer asked.
“I think, you know, again, it could be late 2023, early 2024. But I just wanna be straight up that we are now in the middle of this federal environmental review process. The feds have to sign off on all the hoops that process requires us to jump through in terms of analyzing,” Lieber said.
Lieber said the agency is looking at a number of potential chokepoints, such as increased traffic in the South Bronx, as many as 700 additional trucks on the Cross Bronx Expressway as toll-evading drivers seek to get to the outer boroughs. The South Bronx is a particular concern because of the high number of asthma cases there.
He says the agency may have a solution to that problem.
“How do you reroute all these trucks?” Kramer asked.
“What you do is, actually, what that scenario did is that it reduced the toll for trucks enough so that they wouldn’t be as incentivized to take a new route,” Lieber said. “It is fair that the folks in the Bronx, make sure that they don’t have additional environmental impact.”
Another problem the agency is grappling with is who should get exemptions. Kramer asked Lieber if city workers like police, firefighters and teachers should get exemptions, and what about elected officials?
“Is the mayor going to have to pay a congestion fee when he goes from Gracie Mansion to City Hall?” Kramer asked.
“All fair questions, but they all have to be worked out,” Lieber said.
There also a lot of others who want exemptions, from motorcycle riders to those who have to get to hospitals. Lieber says the more exemptions that are given, the higher the congestion fee is likely to be.
“The Point with Marcia Kramer” airs every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. after “Face the Nation” on CBS2 and streams on CBS News New York.