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Scathing New Report: New York Congestion Toll Plan Would Disproportionately Harm People of Color

NEW YORK – The Black Institute (TBI), a Black-led policy and organizing institution, released its latest publication, an analysis of the MTA’s proposed congestion pricing plan from the lens of people of color and its impact on our communities.

The new report,  “Just Call It A Black and Brown Toll: An analysis of the MTA’s proposed congestion pricing plan,” finds that the MTAs congestion pricing plan would disproportionately and catastrophically harm New York City’s lower-income communities of color. 

The Black Institute engaged in an extensive analysis of the MTA’s Environmental Assessment of the congestion pricing plan and researched past and present congestion pricing plans in New York City. In particular, the report finds:

  • The MTA’s Congestion pricing amounts to a catastrophic tax on New York’s lower-income communities of color.
  • The plan would cost tens of thousands, unfairly double taxes for-hire drivers

“Even in a majority-minority city like New York, people of color face disproportionate economic hardship.  As the MTA’s plan describes, congestion pricing is less of a congestion solution and more of a funding solution for the MTA’s operations extorted from our city’s most vulnerable communities.  The plan’s benefits do not outweigh what will be a catastrophic tax on people of color in our city.” Bertha Lewis, Founder & President, The Black Institute

As a racial justice action tank, a think tank that takes action on issues and policies related to people of color in New York and throughout the diaspora, we found the MTA’s August 2022 release of the Environmental Assessment (EA) to be a money grab. In addition, under the MTA’s congestion pricing plan, commuters of color would face paying exorbitant fees, and black and brown communities will become more polluted due to congestion. Yet again, we find that decisions made by the Traffic Mobility Board by primarily white men do not come close to representing the melting pot of New York. 

While the congestion pricing concept has much to offer New York, the current iteration spearheaded by the MTA critically fails communities of color for this concept to achieve viability in a way that does not harm communities of color more extensively from an economic and environmental standpoint. Therefore, in this report, TBI firmly opposes the MTA plan and offers solutions and calling for the following:

  • MTA to be audited
  • Amend the 2019 MTA Reform and Traffic and Mobility Act to address the issues with this law and the MTA’s version of congestion pricing. 
  • Taxis and FHV’s excluded from taxes and tolls
  • Retract the Congestion Pricing Environmental Assessment for further study

Read the full report here

The Black Institute in the News

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