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Feds OK ‘environmental assessment’ of NYC congestion tolls

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New York can finally proceed with a shorter environmental review of its plan to toll downtown Manhattan car trips, the Federal Highway Administration said Tuesday — ending years of delays begun during the Trump administration.

Under the FHWA’s decision, the MTA and city may now proceed with an “environmental assessment” — which “requires less time to complete than an Environmental Impact Statement should no significant impacts be identified,” the FHWA said in a statement.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year accused the Trump administration of holding the toll program “hostage” by refusing to signal which type of environmental review would be required to enact the program under the National Environmental Protection Action.

Tolls on auto travel in the Manhattan “Central Business District” below 60th Street were scheduled to launch at the beginning of next year. Transit officials now expect the program to get started as late as 2023.

“With this guidance on an environmental assessment now in hand, the MTA is ready to hit the ground running to implement the Central Business District Tolling Program,” MTA Chairman Pat Foye said in a statement.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Cuomo accused the Trump administration of holding the toll program “hostage.”
AP

“We are already working on preliminary design for the roadway toll system and infrastructure, and we look forward to working with our colleagues at the Federal Highway Administration to conduct the review and broad public outreach so that we can move forward with the remainder of the program as soon as possible.”

Congestion pricing is expected to raise $1 billion each year for the perennially cash-strapped MTA, which plans to use the money to borrow $15 billion over four years for its its $51.5 billion modernization plan.

A NYPD officer directs traffic in Midtown Msnhattan.
Congestion tolls are expected to raise $1 billion each year for the MTA.
Getty Images

“We need congestion pricing, we need to make sure we have the resources to bring back the subways and buses strong,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press conference upon hearing the FHWA’s decision.

“We need, obviously, to continue to address congestion itself. This is really good news.”

New York will be the first city in the United States to toll downtown car trips, but other international cities have had similar tolls in place for years, including London, Singapore and Milan.

Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks and Bernadette Hogan



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Suspect arrested in fatal Brooklyn stabbing

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Police have apprehended a suspect in the fatal December stabbing of a Brooklyn man, cops said on Saturday.

The suspect, John Headley, 32, also of Brooklyn, was taken into custody Friday and charged with murder and weapons possession for the Dec. 12 knifing of Ken Baird, 37, police said.

Baird was stabbed multiple times in the chest following a dispute on Crown Street near Utica Avenue in Crown Heights at about 6:40 p.m., police said.

EMS transported Baird to King County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

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Man dies after jumping from Staten Island Ferry

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A 53-year-old man died Saturday after jumping from the Staten Island Ferry into the chilly waters of New York Harbor, police said.

NYPD Harbor launch officers pulled the man out of the water after responding to reports of a jumper near the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan at around 2 p.m.

“He jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock,” an NYPD spokesman told The Post. He jumped off the Ferryboat Andrew J. Barberi, police said.

The unidentified victim was removed to Pier 11 and transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 3:10 p.m.

A newsstand worker said there were “about 50 or so emergency people” at Pier 11 following a valiant effort — which included CPR — to save the man’s life.

Ferry1

An NYPD spokesman says the 53-year-old man “jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock.”

Michael Dalton

Ferry3

The 53-year-old man was transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Michael Dalton

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Kemp Lashes M.L.B. as Republicans Defend Georgia’s Voting Law

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Mr. Kemp, who is gearing up to run for re-election in 2022, has striven to re-enter the good graces of Republican voters after becoming a central political target of former President Donald J. Trump because of his refusal to help Mr. Trump overturn the state’s election results last year. A former secretary of state of Georgia who has his own record of decisions that made voting harder for the state’s residents, he is again a key G.O.P. voice leading the charge on the issue.

On Saturday, he repeatedly tried to paint the league’s decision as driven by Stacey Abrams, the voting rights advocate and former Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia who is seen as likely to challenge Mr. Kemp again next year.

Ms. Abrams, one of the most prominent critics of Georgia’s voting law, has pushed back on calls for sports leagues and corporations to boycott the state. She said on Friday that she was “disappointed” baseball officials had pulled the All-Star Game but that she was “proud of their stance on voting rights.”

In defending the law in Georgia, Mr. Kemp singled out two Democratically controlled states, New York and Delaware, and compared their voting regulations with the new law in Georgia. Those states do not offer as many options for early voting as Georgia does, but they have also not passed new laws instituting restrictions on voting.

“In New York, they have 10 days of early voting,” Mr. Kemp said (New York actually has nine). “In Georgia, we have a minimum of 17, with two additional Sundays that are optional in our state. In New York, you have to have an excuse to vote absentee. In Georgia, you can vote absentee for any reason.”



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