Congestion Pricing Plan in New York City Clears Final Federal Hurdle

Congestion pricing in New York City has cleared its final federal hurdle, officials said on Monday, all but ensuring that the first such program in the nation will begin next year with the aim of reducing traffic and pollution in Manhattan and funding improvements to mass transit.

The program would charge drivers a fee to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street, one of the world’s busiest and most traffic-clogged commercial districts.

Final approval was granted by the Federal Highway Administration, a spokeswoman said Monday, and a local panel appointed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority can now decide on final toll rates, including any discounts, exemptions and other allowances.

The M.T.A., which runs the city’s subways and buses and the metropolitan area’s commuter railroads and is overseeing the tolling program, hasn’t set a fee scale yet. But a report that it released in August showed that one proposal under review would charge $23 for a rush-hour trip into Midtown and $17 during off-peak hours.