D.C. eyes plan to charge drivers to bring cars and trucks into city

City officials say that "If we don't get ahead of this, we're just going to be in a congestion nightmare."

Washington D.C. Congestion Pricing

City officials in Washington D.C. are considering adding congestion pricing so that drivers would have to pay to bring cars or trucks into the downtown area.

The D.C. Council has proposed a nearly $500,000 study to analyze the costs and benefits of charging drivers a fee to bring passenger or commercial vehicles into parts of the city, according to reporting from WUSA9. The study will also look at working with Maryland and Virginia on tolling solutions.

Council member Mary Cheh says that the purpose of the congestion pricing is not to raise revenue but to cut down on traffic. “If we don’t get ahead of this, we’re just going to be in a congestion nightmare,” she said.

It isn’t yet clear what the congestion pricing fee would be and whether it would be a fixed price or varied based on the time of day.

“This study will provide the council with essential information on how the District could implement congestion pricing to help reduce the number of non-District drivers on our roads, including pricing strategies, and help identify any equity concerns that may exist and, of course, any legal constraints,” said Cheh.

The results of the study will be made public next summer.

New York City recently approved a similar congestion tolling plan that will charge truck drivers an estimated $25 to enter the down town area. The city is set to start charging the fees in the next two years.