New York Trucking Group Sues NYC Congestion Pricing Plan

As a controversial, first-of-its-kind, congestion pricing program eyes rollout in New York City’s Manhattan bureau at the end of June, New York trucking stakeholders have doubled down in their resistance to the regulation.

Last Thursday, the Trucking Association of New York (TANY) filed a federal lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), a public benefit corporation which would oversee the toll program. At the crux of the legal contest, the trucking association argued that the proposed fees levied on commercial truck operators are unfair and unconstitutional.

TANY’s lawsuit seeks to block the congestion pricing program, which is set to launch Jun. 30, from being implemented.

If the measure is enacted, TANY President Kendra Hems said the trucking industry will have no choice but to shoulder the newfound costs, leading to probable price increases on a multitude of products moving to and from the compacted bureau of America’s largest city. After all, the overwhelming majority of cargoes moved in New York City are transported by truck.

While the lawsuit suggests a bold, uncompromising, objection to the pricing plan, TANY has also indicated a willingness to meet halfway. If a waiver from the toll program is not possible, the association would like MTA to include provisions that partially relieve the impact to trucking operations. This includes revisions where trucks are limited to being tolled just once a day or charged fees at the same rate as passenger vehicles. As the proposal stands, commercial trucks will have to pay more than typical commuters.

Over the years, amid the murmurs of city officials scheming such a plan, trucking stakeholders have long protested against congestion pricing in New York City’s business districts. In 2020, TANY penned an open letter forewarning its concerns of how a program could severely hinder the industry. Other trucking interest groups, including American Trucking Associations, have also cosigned public statements against city proposals.

Essentially, stakeholders have expressed that chaos will unfold in light of a truck-included congestion program. They assert that businesses (customers) inside the area of toll enforcement will be put at a competitive disadvantage to businesses that are outside of it.

As is the case with any added cost, trucking companies would build these tolls into their freight rates, raising costs for impacted customers.

Trucks would be charged $36 to enter Manhattan

As it stands, and set to launch on Jun. 30, New York City’s congestion pricing program would target all drivers entering the city’s bustling Manhattan bureau, specifically its central business district.  While all motorized mechanisms with wheels would be charged, the entrance fee amount varies depending on the type of vehicle.

  • Motorcycles: $7.50
  • Passenger car drivers: $15
  • Taxis: $1.25 (per ride fare)
  • Ride-hail (Uber and Lyft): $2.50 (per trip fare)
  • Box trucks, moving vans: $24
  • Large, heavy-duty, trucks: $36

The above are the full daytime rates which would be in effect from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. each weekday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. For off-hours (from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.), MTA has called for a 75 percent reduction from the daytime fees. For example, at this rate, the $15 fee for cars would be reduced to $3.50 during these hours.

The $36 fee associated with large trucks would be the one that would apply for trucking operators.

Altogether, the tolls are projected to accrue $1 billion annually and serve as a source of funding to upgrade the city’s mass transit systems. City officials have also noted the program’s objective towards reducing New York City’s high-volume traffic and, subsequently, improve air quality.

Final Thoughts

Upon conclusion of a period of public comment, the plan was given final approval on Mar. 27. While TANY’s lawsuit, as well as any of the several others filed by plaintiffs with their own separate grievances, could delay or block the plan, congestion pricing in Manhattan’s business district is set to begin at 12:01 a.m. on Jun. 30.

If enacted, it would be the first instance of congestion pricing in a U.S. city. However, similar models already exist in several international cities, such as London and Singapore.

Contact one of our team members if you have any questions regarding this topic or any others in cross-border logistics.

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