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NYC congestion pricing called “unconstitutional” in trucking lawsuit

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The Trucking Association of New York is calling NYC congestion pricing a violation of the constitution that would put a “financial burden” on the industry.

The toll plan proposed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would charge semi trucks using an EZPass between $24 and $36 every time they enter the Congestion Relief Zone in Manhattan from 5 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday. Commercial trucks would also be charged between $6 and $9 overnight. Cars would be charged a flat rate of $15 once a day, no matter how many times they enter and exit the designated area. The NYC congestion pricing is set to begin on June 30th, reported CBS.

The Trucking Association of New York (TANY) alleges in a lawsuit that the NYC congestion pricing violates the Commerce Clause of the constitution, which allows Congress “to regulate Commerce… among the several States.” The lawsuit cites the Federal Aviation Act of 1994, which “sets forth that a State may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to prices, routes, or services of motor carriers with respect to the transportation of property.”

The lawsuit also alleges that the NYC congestion pricing “imposes a financial burden on TANY trucks which is not a fair approximation of their use of the Central Business District,” and “a financial burden on TANY trucks which is excessive in relation to the benefit conferred upon them.” 

The lawsuit also refers to the NYC congestion pricing plan as a “scheme for which there is no prior precedent in this country.”

“Any state regulation that interferes with a motor carrier’s rates, routes, services in this way is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act,” said attorney for TANY Brian Carr. 

“This is unfair to the trucking industry and the businesses that rely on us … It charges us more than passenger vehicles, and it charges us every time we go into the zone, and we are non-discretionary travel. We have to make those deliveries at the time that our customers demand it,” said director of Metro Region Operations for TANY, Zach Miller.

Supporters of the NYC congestion pricing plan claim that the trucking industry will benefit from the plan because “they will be able to do the same trip in less time. They will be able to do more trips per shift, and they also will distribute the costs among their customers,” said Rachel Weinberger, with the Regional Plan Association.

The MTA says the plan is necessary to cut down on traffic and fund improvements to mass transit in the city.

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