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NYSBA Urges MTA to Exempt News Vehicles in NYC


The MTA’s congestion pricing plan for New York City is facing significant opposition from a number of sources, including the state of New Jersey and even the Mayor. Nonetheless, the MTA continues to move forward with a plan that would impose a fee for entering the central business district (CBD) in Manhattan, i.e., below 60th Street.  


The basic fee for entering the CBD during the day would be $15 once a day per vehicle once a day. These fees would apply to most vehicles now used for covering the news, including SUVs and vans. There are lower fees for entering during the evening and credits for tolls already paid for using bridges and tunnels. Broadcasters operate about 165 news vehicles in New York City, so these costs could add up.


Unfortunately, the MTA changed the initial Traffic Review Board recommendations with respect to vans. Initially, all vans were eligible for the $15 per day fee. However, the proposed toll schedule states that vans with “roofs extending above the windshield” would be charged $24 not just once a day, but every time they entered the CBD. A number of news vehicles have vans with roofs that extend above the windshield. The change in fees could significantly impact news coverage in the central business district.


We filed comments with the MTA addressing both of these concerns. Specifically, we requested that the MTA (Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority):

1.            News vehicles with “press plates” issued by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles should be exempt.

2.            The TBTA’s toll schedule for vans conflicts with the Traffic Mobility Review Board’s recommendations. The TBTA should follow the conclusions contained in the Traffic Mobility Review Board’s report regarding vans. News vans with “press plates” should be considered as Class 1 vehicles, even though the roofline extends above the windshield.


To date, the MTA has essentially denied all exemption requests. Nonetheless, we are concerned

these fees could have a negative impact on news coverage. The MTA plans to implement the fee

schedule later in the spring.

 

You can see NYSBA's memo filed with the MTA here.

 

You can get more information from the MTA website here.

 

You can see MTA’s proposed fees here

 

You can see the original Traffic Mobility Review Board’s recommendations here.

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