The first public hearing since the MTA unveiled details of its Manhattan congestion pricing plan is expected to be a marathon — with more than 400 people signed up to speak Thursday night and officials promising to give each one the chance to be heard.
If all registrants speak for three minutes — the maximum time allotted at MTA monthly board meetings — the hearing will last a whopping 20 hours, despite being scheduled to take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“If 400 are willing to stay on and wait for their turn they will have an opportunity to speak,” an official told The Post.
Still, officials encouraged those registered to opt for less-busy meetings scheduled for later in the week.
Transit leaders earlier this month released the environmental analysis of six tolling proposals for Manhattan below 60th Street, ranging from $9 to $23 per day per vehicle.
The tolls are expected to begin in late 2023 or 2024, with the money raised set to fund sorely needed MTA fixes.
The proposed tolls are already attracting opposition — including from outer-borough and suburban elected officials, taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers and others.
Transit advocates and pro-pricing elected officials rallied Thursday outside Grand Central Terminal to encourage supporters of the toll program to register to speak — but found themselves interrupted by a self-identified Uber driver outraged over the MTA’s proposals.
“You’re destroying our city! It’s a job killer,” the unnamed cabbie told State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Brooklyn). “It’s killing the jobs of the drivers!”
After Thursday, five more public hearings on the environmental assessment are scheduled for this coming Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Locality-focused hearings are scheduled for the end of September and early October.
A panel made up of appointees of the mayor and governor, known as the Traffic Mobility Review Board, will be tasked with setting tolls and dolling out exemptions — but only after the federal government approves the environmental review.
“We know that there’s a range of opinions, but as far as we’re concerned, love it or hate it, it’s needed now,” said Lisa Daglian of the MTA’s pro-pricing Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee.
“What the environmental assessment does is show congestion pricing will cut traffic, improve air quality, and raise money for transit.”