August 14, 2007 1:00 PM, EDT

DOT Sets $354 Mln. to Back NYC Congestion-Fee Plan

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Tuesday it has allocated $354 million to finance New York City’s congestion fee-based traffic plan, the New York Times reported.

The plan, backed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, would charge trucks $21 in Manhattan’s busiest areas during peak periods, while automobiles would pay $8.

DOT Secretary Mary Peters made the announcement Tuesday, and her action is likely to increase pressure on state lawmakers who have balked at the city’s plan, the Times said.

Peters said that the city would receive $1.6 million initially, but that the State Legislature must assent to the plan within 90 days of convening — roughly by the end of March 2008 —before the city can receive the balance of the funds, the paper reported on its Web site.

“If the city does not have the legal authority to move forward at that time, it will not receive the money,” Peters said, according the Times.

The New York State Legislature has created a 17-member commission to evaluate the pricing plan and make recommendations, the paper reported.