New York City finally gets green light on crucial next step for congestion pricing

After years of delay, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is one step closer to implementing a first-in-the-nation congestion pricing system.

The Biden administration has notified the transit agency that it should launch an environmental assessment of congestion pricing, a key step toward implementing a system that would charge drivers to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street. Transit officials have been waiting for the federal government to provide information on what type of environmental review it must conduct for years, but the Trump administration never weighed in — a delay MTA transit leaders chalked up to a “cynical” political maneuver.

An environmental assessment is a far less rigorous process than the full scale environmental impact statement the federal government could have also directed state leaders to conduct, which typically take years to complete. The decision indicates the Biden administration is interested in moving the process forward as quickly as possible.