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New York City taxi drivers speak out against congestion pricing on last day of MTA’s public hearings

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NEW YORK — The MTA is wrapping up its final two public hearings on Manhattan congestion pricing Monday.

The agency says the tolls are needed to keep the system running, but there’s been a lot of pushback at the hearings. 

Monday, nearly two dozen taxi drivers rallied outside MTA headquarters in Lower Manhattan expressing disapproval of the new tolls. 

“They should exempt the taxi drivers from this because we don’t deserve to have another tax on the cabs,” one driver said. 

Her comments came as the MTA’s second-to-last public hearing on congestion pricing took place. 

“We are risking $15 billion, which is 30% of the overall capital plan, and to make it more scary, it’s 50% of what’s left,” one man said at the hearing. 

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“Our children’s constitutional rights hold more importance than the MTA’s budget deficits,” a woman said at the hearing. 

Last week, firefighters argued they should be exempt from congestion pricing tolls at one of the hearings.   

Officials continue to reiterate that money from the tolls is expected to pay for major systemwide upgrades on trains and buses. 

“Every dollar from congestion pricing will be dedicated to improving the mass transit system in the region. So the only real result of the litigation is going to be to delay critical improvements,” said Jamie Torres-Springer, president of MTA Construction & Development. 

Bergen County Executive James Tedesco has a different stance on congestion pricing tolls. 

“In Bergen County, people are going to avoid going through the tunnels and come up through the bridge, and that’s going to cause massive traffic jams,” said Tedesco. “We filed a lawsuit and on April 6, I’ll be in court with them, with the County of Bergen to fight this.” 

The MTA is slated to hold the final public hearing on congestion pricing at its headquarters at 6 p.m. Monday. Participants can join in-person or virtually. Registration closes 30 minutes after the hearing starts.   

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Meanwhile, NJ Transit started holding public hearings on proposed fare hikes Monday.

Source: CBS

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