NYC Mayor Adams Taps Union Leader Over Congestion Prices

Mayor Adams announced Monday the appointment of the head of New York’s largest transit workers union to a panel recommending the sticker price for the proposed Manhattan congestion toll.

John Sameulsen, international chairman of the Transport Workers Union, which represents the majority of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s workforce – as well as thousands of other transportation workers across the country – is set to join the Traffic Mobility Review Board.

The group is required by a 2019 state law that also approved tolls that will hit motorists driving south of 60th St. in Manhattan. The group has six members, five of which have been nominated by Gov. Hochul. The MTA board voted last week to approve Hochul’s picks, most of whom are large corporations and real estate.

“This is a historic appointment as the workforce is recognized as a key stakeholder in the MTA’s operations,” Samuelsen told the Daily News. “Last I checked, I’m not a real estate developer, I’m a track worker.”

The panel’s formation comes as the MTA takes steps to push congestion prices toward approval delayed more than three years by U.S. Department of Transportation officials under former President Donald Trump and President Biden.

The tolls — required by law to fund $15 billion of the 2020-2024 MTA capital plan — were initially slated for early 2021; they are now expected to start in 2024, MTA officials said.

The Traffic Mobility Review Board should issue a report with proposals for toll prices and drivers to be exempted. The MTA board must approve the proposals before they are final.

Samuelsen declined to say whether he would push for an exemption from the toll for MTA employees.

The union leader has a non-voting seat on the MTA board. Adams considered in March to nominate Samuelsen to one of four voting positions the mayor may elect on the MTA board, according to sources with knowledge of the decision. The mayor later decided to change course.

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