New York’s $15 Congestion Toll Slammed by Kevin O’Leary

“Mr Wonderful,” AKA Kevin O’Leary, has had some choice words to say about New York City’s new plan to charge people who drive into Manhattan. Let’s take a look at what he said.

New York City’s Congestion Toll Program

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At the end of March 2024, New York City completed the final step in a fifteen-year-long proposed plan to start rolling out a congestion toll program across the city. 

The Final Step

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Any drivers of small vehicles heading to the business district of Manhattan will have to pay a flat rate of $15 per day in an effort to get more New Yorkers off the road and into public transport.

Encouraging Public Transport and Reducing Traffic

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The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted the bill through 11-1, with the expectation it would raise over $1 billion a year for improvements to their public transport system and significantly lower traffic and pollution. 

Historic Move

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New York is the first city to implement a congestion charge zone, so if it goes down well, expect to see it potentially rolled out across the rest of the U.S. 

Expected Reductions

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An advisory committee to the Transportation Authority board predicted that it will reduce the number of vehicles entering Manhattan by just under 17% and that miles driven would be reduced statewide.

Mid-June 2024 for New York’s Congestion Tolls

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New York’s congestion tolls are expected to begin in mid-June 2024, and while cars will be charged $15, trucks are estimated to be charged between $24 and $36, depending on the vehicle size. 

Differentiated Rates for Cars, Trucks, and Motorcycles

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Motorcycles aren’t exempt either – they’ll rack up a charge of $7.50 a day.

“This was the right thing to do. New York has more traffic than any place in the United States, and now we’re doing something about it,” the Transportation Authority’s chairman said after the vote.

Mixed Reactions 

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Despite the board voting in favor of the program, it’s still facing challenges from residents and lawmakers. 

Challenges from Lawsuits

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There have been six different lawsuits filed against the state of New York, all in an effort to stop the implementation of tolls.

Critics’ Concerns

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Critics argue that they will cost the public too much and that the traffic will just divert to other parts of the city as drivers avoid the tolls, causing increased pollution in these areas.

New Jersey’s Lawsuit

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The State of New Jersey has filed the biggest lawsuit, stating that the program “failed to adequately consider the environment impacts” and “ignored the significant financial burden being placed on New Jerseyans and New Jersey’s transportation system.”

Financial and Environmental Arguments

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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in an interview, “You are not eliminating pollution, you are just displacing it from Manhattan to New Jersey. And you’re charging our commuters an exorbitant fee on top of that.”

Kevin O’Leary’s Critique

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Kevin O’Leary – a frequent outspoken critic of New York and Shark Tank favorite – is also not happy about the new congestion tolls. 

Concerns about Economic Impact

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In an interview with Fox Businesses, he railed against the new plans, stating, “Congestion tax has been placed in London, England as well. It proved to be very inflationary in the cost of doing business in the city.”

Effects on Business and Real Estate

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O’Leary warned that, “It changed the nature of who comes into the city. It changed the nature of real estate where parking was and now isn’t, all kinds of things changed over the three years since they implemented it but it’s there and it’s inflationary. Same thing is going to happen in New York.”


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“It’s just too unstable right now,” he added.

Toll Roll Readers and Operational Hours

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Despite the lawsuits and the opposition from big-name businessmen, all the toll roll readers are in place and will soon automatically start charging drivers based on their license plates. The tolls will operate between 5 am-9 pm on weekdays and 9 am-9 pm on weekends.

Impact on Cab Fares and Ride-Sharing

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Some experts are worried about the rising cab fares, which will affect people who rely on taxis, as Uber and Lyft have already announced that the new tolls will increase prices by around $2.50. Although this only applies to trips taken within the congestion zone, experts warn that the companies could easily roll the increased fees out to the rest of the city.


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Emergency vehicles are exempt from the new tolls, as are vehicles carrying people with disabilities.

Future Uncertainty

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Whether O’Leary’s predictions will come true remains to be seen, but the data from other countries that have implemented congestion zones points to a win for New Yorkers.

The post – New York’s $15 Congestion Toll Slammed by Kevin O’Leary first appeared on Wealthy Living.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.