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Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Congestion Pricing

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Plaintiffs joined by Elected at announcement of lawsuit at City Hall Park.

The Group NYers Against Congestion Pricing Tax has filed a class action lawsuit against the MTA, citing the lack of an Environmental Impact Study (EIS). Braving sub-zero temperatures, the plaintiffs along with Elected official and activists held a presser in front of City Hall Park Thursday morning Jan 18.

Retired Judge Kathryn Freed making announcement.

Speaking for the plaintiffs was retired judge Kathryn Freed and former NYC council district 1 representative. Others include Susan Lee president of the NYers Against Congestion Pricing Tax, Trevor Holland 2 bridges tenant leader, Ayesha Torres tenant leader Smith Houses, Lee Berman District Leader, Andrew Fine, Robert Holden, David Weprin.

The lawsuit claims the NYC MTA did not follow requirements and do a proper Environmental Impact Study instead opting for an Enironmental assessment. Tenant leaders were concerned traffic along the FDR corridor. Would further add to the pollution already caused by a DSNY (dept of sanitation) garage, traffic from Basketball City, and the ongoing ESCR (East Coastal Resiliency) project.

Another major concern is the proposed $15 passenger car, $36 truck fees. Various groups including firefighters, police, teachers (over 100 groups total), have been fighting for “carve-outs” (discounted fees). The plan calls for tolls to be collected from all vehicular traffic entering Manhattan south of 60st. The NYC MTA estimates $1 Bln dollars in fees collected annually with monies going towards subway maintenance and upgrades. Skeptics however balk at any real improvements to the system given the MTAs record of wasteful spending on ineffective updates like the new turnstiles.

Chinatown / Little Italy coalition at a protest last year

Congestion Pricing will have negative impacts on Chinatown’s already fragile economy. Chinatown has long been known for cheap eats, and most restaurants survive on a razor thin profit margin. Any disruption to customer traffic and turnover may just shutter them. Residents will also feel the impacts of congestion pricing at the grocery store and other retail as truckers who are expected to pay $36 to enter the zone will add these fees onto shipping costs. Chinatown has a high concentration of professionals in health care and seniors living outside the zone are concerned they will have to cut down appointments due to the added costs, especially those with mobility issues who depend on children or grandchildren to drive them in for appointments. Those entering Manhattan for a night of revelry who can afford $20 cocktails may shrug off the $15 toll but for low-income families living in the zone the added costs amount to another burden to bear.

NYers Against Congestion Pricing Tax President Susan Lee encourages interested parties to contact them through link below.

For more information or to contact NYers Against Congestion Pricing Tax click link below

A coalition of Little Italy and Chinatown residents and merchant groups was formed last year to address congestion pricing issues of importance to the neighborhoods held a demonstration (pictured above) in lower Manhattan last fall. The group held multiple press conferences and stated they had planned to fundraise for a lawsuit. The group was a no-show at the Jan 18 announcement although they were invited.

CCM (City council member) Christopher Marte who represents district 1 which includes Chinatown and Little Italy supports congestion pricing, further demonstrating his disconnect to resident and business concerns.

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