MTA Proposes Pollution Mitigation Spending for the Bronx

Acknowledging the impact the city’s proposed congestion pricing program could have on underserved neighborhoods, the agency plans to spend over $130 million in revenue from the program on air filtration, trees, and other pollution reduction measures.

2 minute read

March 30, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced tentative plans to spend at least $130 million in revenue from the city’s proposed congestion pricing program to address air pollution in some of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods, where critics of the program say traffic diverted from tolled roads will exacerbate poor air quality and put residents at even higher risk for asthma and other diseases.

As a story by Ana Ley for The New York Times explains, “One busy highway which could get more traffic as a result of the congestion pricing program is the Cross Bronx Expressway, a key artery for commercial traffic that is flanked by residential buildings holding about 220,000 Bronx residents, most of whom are people of color.” One version of the proposed congestion pricing plan estimates new truck traffic on the Cross Bronx would increase soot on the corridor by roughly 5 percent.

“The proposal, first reported by Streetsblog and confirmed by people familiar with the matter, includes plans to install air filtration units in some schools near highways, and to reduce overnight toll rates to encourage commercial vehicles to drive during off-peak hours.” This is in part a response to federal regulations that require agencies to mitigate the harm caused by diverted traffic. The proposed plan would also dedicate $25 million to asthma treatment in the Bronx and $5 million to landscaping along roads, as well as plans to renovate parks and green spaces. The plan requires approval from federal officials and the MTA board.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 in The New York Times

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