NYC congestion pricing tolls must be set in public, says open government expert

NYC congestion pricing tolls must be set in public, says open government expert

The board that will recommend congestion pricing tolls to enter Midtown must deliberate in public and not behind closed doors, the state Committee on Open Government has ruled.

The MTA last fall claimed the Traffic Mobility Review Board is not covered by the Open Meetings Law, and therefore its meetings are not open to the public because it is an advisory board.

But the Committee on Open Government disagreed.

The panel’s meetings should be open to the public because it was established in state law to help create policy, Kristin O’Neill, the committee’s assistant director, said in a Nov. 21 ruling.

The MTA has yet to respond to the decision, transit advocates said.

“We want the TMRB’s meetings open to the public. Congestion pricing is going to affect millions of people and provide billions of dollars in revenue to the MTA,” said Lisa Daglian of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.

“There will be people who won’t like paying a congestion fee but at least they’ll know how the decisions were made,” Daglian said, adding that “there should be no back-room deals.”

In response late Friday afternoon, MTA rep Abbey Collins reiterated that the agency does not believe the toll-setting board is subject to the open meetings law, and referred The Post to a statement from November.

“The TMRB is tasked only with making recommendations and it doesn’t perform a governmental action subject to the open meetings law,” Collins said at the time. “Once constituted the TMRB will determine a public engagement process, which we believe is critically important.”

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