- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Biden administration is green-lighting a plan to charge motorists who drive into midtown Manhattan, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, while a Republican lawmaker called it part of Democrats’ “war on cars.”

The U.S. Transportation Department will allow the state to proceed with a federally required environmental assessment and public outreach for the “congestion-pricing” program, which could bring in $1 billion per year, Mr. Cuomo said.

“Congestion pricing is an internationally proven method to reduce traffic congestion, enhance the availability and reliability of public transportation, and improve our air quality,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “It will play a critical role as New York and the nation begin to recover from the pandemic.”

The plan would raise money for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who represents Staten Island and Brooklyn, blasted the administration’s move, calling it “irresponsible.” She said the Federal Highway Administration should insist on a more detailed environmental impact statement, instead of a speedier environmental review, due to the congestion-pricing program’s status as the first of its kind in the nation.

“At a time when New York City is trying to recover from the pandemic and is already losing residents and businesses to other lower-taxed states at record pace, the last thing we need is another toll to enter the central business district of Manhattan,” Ms. Malliotakis said.

She said the plan “would severely impact working-class Americans from transportation-starved communities.”

“Now it is clearly part of the de Blasio-Cuomo-Biden administration’s war on cars as well,” she said.

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