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Transportation & Environment

Recommendations for Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB), charged with developing rules and rates for congestion pricing.

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, February 13, 2020, the following resolution passed with a vote of 35 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, State law will allow congestion pricing to go into effect for vehicles traveling south of 60th Street in Manhattan as early as January 1, 2021; and

WHEREAS, A Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB) will be empowered to set the congestion fee for entering the zone below 60th Street, to establish hardship exemptions from the toll, and to allow for bridge and tunnel tolls to be rebated; and

WHEREAS, While the TMRB is to be comprised of six members, with two coming from the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road regions, no members are required to represent Manhattan, the area most directly affected by this initiative; and

WHEREAS, MTA Board discussions regarding TMRB appointments are subject to open meeting laws, but TMRB’s meetings are not, since they will make recommendations and not perform direct government actions that are subject to the open meeting law; and

WHEREAS, The MTA has committed publicly to be transparent and to work with local communities, elected officials, and advocates to inform them on progress regarding congestion pricing; and

WHEREAS, It has been announced that the TMRB will determine a public engagement process after the TMRB is constituted; and

WHEREAS, The fee and exemption structure prescribed by State legislation is not complete or adequate,
and community boards should be included in the process of deciding final adequate fees and exemptions;

WHEREAS, The TMRB cannot release its recommendations until November 15, 2020, by state law,
leaving as little as 6 weeks for community engagement after the TMRB’s recommendations are released
before their implementation; and

WHEREAS, The stated goal of congestion pricing is as much the adjustment of traffic patterns and the
reduction of vehicular traffic and vehicle use as much as the raising of revenue to fund mass transit
options; and

WHEREAS, The MTA has not yet released plans for increased transit capacity or bus service to be
implemented in conjunction with the anticipated reduction in vehicular car use; therefore be it resolved

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges the MTA to appoint TMRB members as soon as possible, so
that they can begin a deliberative process to create an effective and balanced congestive pricing plan; and
be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges the State to require the TMRB to follow the same open
meetings standards that other government and public bodies must adhere to; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five calls on the MTA to be transparent and to have a robust public
engagement process, to keep the public informed and allow input on all decisions regarding the
congestion pricing plan, including actively consulting community boards during the process of the TMRB
deliberation, as well as actively consulting community boards after the TMRB adoption of
recommendations but before implementation; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges the MTA and TMRB to work together to ensure that
adequate transportation alternatives are available and running before the congestion pricing plan goes into
effect; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges that at least two of the six members of the Traffic Mobility
Review Board represent the interests of Manhattanites, with one representing the interests of those who
live within the zone and the other representing the interests of those who live in Manhattan outside of the
zone, as recommended by the Manhattan Borough President in her letter to the Governor of January 16,

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