NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The Federal Highway Administration has greenlighted New York City's congestion pricing plan, after reviewing its environmental and legal impact.
On Friday, The FHA issued the MTA a 'Letter of Legal Sufficiency,' agreeing that the agency provided the appropriate documentation and analysis required. That triggers a 30-day public review period, in which opponents can appeal during that time.
However, within that period, the FHA is expected issue a 'Finding of No Significant Impact,' the final federal environmental approval.
Once that happens, implementation will be in the hands of New York City, New York State and the Traffic Mobility Review Board, the six-member body that will hold public hearings to determine things like toll prices and exemptions.
Based on the current timetable, congestion pricing could be implemented as early as April 2024
The plan has been the subject of debate from politicians and community leaders.
Politicians like New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer call it an unfair tax on jersey commuters.
"It's completely and totally outrageous what they are doing," he said.
The plan aims to reduce traffic in the busiest parts of Manhattan while at the same time providing needed funding for mass transit, but it remains unpopular.
The Port Authority toll is $17, congestion pricing south of 60th Street will run $23, plus you can add $50 for parking. Going into the city could cost $90 per day.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy calls the decision by the FHA "unfair and ill-advised."
But MTA officials say something must be done to deal with Midtown congestion. According to the agency's head of external affairs: "Congestion pricing is a generational opportunity to make it easier for people to get around in, and get to, the central business district, by reducing traffic and funding improvements to the public transit system."
It's expected to raise at least a billion dollars every year, revenue the MTA is counting on to maintain and upgrade the transit system.