RELEASE: Gottheimer Announces Federal Legislation to Fight Back Against New York Congestion Tax and to Protect New Jersey Residents, Commuters

The Anti-Congestion Tax Act will help stop New York mooching off hardworking Jersey families

 

Above: Gottheimer announcing the bipartisan Anti-Congestion Tax Act in Lodi today with NJ State Senator Joe Lagana, Lodi Mayor Scott Luna, and Lodi Deputy Mayor Vince Martin.

Lodi, NJ
 — Today, August 11, 2021, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced bipartisan federal legislation, the Anti-Congestion Tax Act, to fight New York’s proposed congestion tax and protect hardworking New Jersey families who drive into Manhattan. This tax burden will be placed on New Jersey drivers, but the State of New Jersey and its transit and infrastructure systems will not benefit.

Gottheimer also announced that he would be writing to incoming New York Governor Kathy Hochul urging the reversal of the proposed congestion taxes on New Jersey residents.

Gottheimer joined New Jersey Senator Joe Lagana (LD-38), Lodi Mayor Scott Luna, and Lodi Deputy Mayor Vince Martin today to highlight how the bipartisan bill would ensure that New Jersey drivers who commute into New York City are not hit with a new, $3,000 a year regressive and punitive congestion tax.

“The relationship between New York and New Jersey is a driving economic force, not only in the country, but in the world. Our states are deeply intertwined, and it is tradition for New York and New Jersey to work together. That is why the proposed $3,000 a year congestion tax is such a slap in the face to New Jersey commuters,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Even more galling is that unlike the shared Port Authority resources from the tolls on the GW Bridge, that help both New York and New Jersey, every nickel of that new Midtown congestion tax will go to New York, to their MTA, to help fix their subways. Not a cent will go back to the PATH or NJ Transit to actually help our state in any way. That’s a joke.”

Gottheimer continued, “With the help of the bipartisan legislation that I’m announcing today, we’re fighting back against the proposed New York congestion taxes that are targeting hardworking Jersey families for simply driving into Manhattan.”

New Jersey State Senator Joe Lagana (LD-38) said, “New York’s congestion pricing scheme targets the wallets of New Jersey residents who work in the city and already contribute income taxes, tolls and their business. We cannot take any option off the table to fight against this unfair proposal.”

The Anti-Congestion Tax Act takes two key actions:

1.      The Anti-Congestion Tax Act will prohibit the Secretary of Transportation from awarding any new Capital Investment Grants to MTA projects in New York until drivers from the New Jersey crossings into Manhattan receive exemptions from this new congestion tax.

2.      The Anti-Congestion Tax Act will amend the Internal Revenue Code to offer drivers a federal tax credit at the end of the year equal to the amount paid in congestion taxes entering Manhattan from any of the three New Jersey crossings. This will protect Jersey drivers from double taxation.

MTA Chief Financial Officer Bob Foran recently said during a June 2021 board meeting that the MTA does not need congestion pricing revenue right now.

Gottheimer has also joined Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9) to request that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg require a comprehensive review of the congestion tax’s burden on Jersey commuters, as well as public hearings in Northern New Jersey. Gottheimer is also helping lead bipartisan legislation with Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis, H.R.2476, the Economic Impact of Tolling Act, to ban implementation of a congestion tax until there is more information on the economic impact on our constituents and states.

Watch the press conference  here

Gottheimer’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are below

I am here today to announce new bipartisan federal legislation that will ensure New Jersey drivers who commute into New York City are not hit with a new, $3,000 a year regressive and punitive congestion tax that punishes Jersey residents simply for going over the GW Bridge to get to work in Manhattan.

Under New York’s proposed congestion tax plan, when commuters go across the GW Bridge and drive into Midtown, they will get whacked, not only with the $16 a day toll at the GW Bridge, which is ridiculous, but now an additional $15 dollars when they drive south of 60th Street. Yes, $31 dollars a day or more just to drive to work in New York City — or to see friends or family. That’s absurd double taxation at its finest. 

Even more galling: unlike the shared Port Authority resources from the tolls on this bridge, that help New York and New Jersey, every nickel of that new Midtown congestion tax will go to New York, to their MTA, to help fix their subways. Not a cent will go back to the PATH or NJ Transit to actually help our state in any way. That’s a joke. Even more, under this proposed clown show, New York City drivers, and those going over or in via intra-state crossings like the Henry Hudson Bridge and Midtown Tunnel, will likely be exempted from the congestion tax.  Yes, they are hitting Jersey drivers while protecting New York drivers. What a bunch of hypocrites. 

Proposing a new regressive congestion tax on New Jersey commuters, who already pay a fortune, is no way to make this region stronger. And to do so, just as New York City is trying to get back on its economic feet, makes even less sense. 

I’m hoping New York’s new Governor will get this – and reverse this inexplicable attack on Jersey families. I’m sending a letter to incoming Governor Hochul that will arrive on her desk on her first day on the job.  

Every day, residents from Lodi and all across Northern Jersey head into New York City for work. In fact, every day, more than 289,000 vehicles cross the George Washington Bridge from Bergen County, Sussex, Warren, and Passaic Counties, and from all over the state. 

Many of them work in New York, and are going in to support their families. They are nurses headed into the city for a night shift or taxi cab drivers ready for their first pick-up. And for those who say, why not just take public transit, the answer is simple: unfortunately, for many people who live in northern New Jersey, there just aren’t mass transit options.  If you’re in Franklin Lakes, or Newton, or Knowlton, or West Milford, your options are limited — too few regular bus lines, if any, and too many failing trains. People have no other choice but to hop in their car for the commute. Why would we punish them? 

Luckily, we’re working on improving our infrastructure and transit — right now. Yesterday, the once in a century Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill passed the Senate, which I worked on for months as Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, which means we will be able to make revolutionary investments in our mass transit systems. But, those investments take time and New Jersey residents cannot afford this extra tax now. 

The relationship between New York and New Jersey is a driving economic force, not only in the country, but in the world. It always has been, and we’ve always stood and worked together. Every day, a massive portion of the global economy travels throughout the Northeast corridor— about $100 million a day, including 20% of our nation’s GDP. 

This region is the economic nerve center of the world. And, it’s in no small part, thanks to the incredible people from my state — especially here in North Jersey —with an educated and diverse workforce that can compete with any country around the globe. 

According to the most recent Census data, nearly 400,000 New Jersey residents not only worked in New York City, but they also filed and paid state taxes in New York, as much as $3.7 billion per year. Most of these folks are daily commuters into New York City.

Our states are deeply intertwined and it is tradition for New York and New Jersey to work together. It is what we have done for decades. But yet, after decades of cooperation, going back a century to when the Port Authority agreement was inked, New York is now looking at Jersey as a way to fill their piggy bank.  

That is why the proposed $3,000 a year congestion tax is such a slap in the face to New Jersey commuters. Somehow, New York isn't satisfied with its share of the $4,000 a year it gets from New Jersey residents who go over the GW Bridge — $4,000 a year in tolls — or the other crossings every day. On top of that, the MTA has received billions in transit aid over the three COVID relief packages, and New York State stands to receive more than 9 billion more in guaranteed funding over the next five years from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that just passed the Senate yesterday, and I’m looking forward to voting for it in the House.  

But it’s just not enough for New York. They want more, and they think we’re their ATM here in New Jersey — and they want to make another withdrawal from us. 

This is not working together, this is an attempt by New York to mooch off of New Jersey and force our hardworking families to pay double taxes while none of the tax revenue even goes to our state’s government or to NJ Transit.

Honestly, as we say here in Jersey, with friends like these, who needs enemies? 

I understand New York’s desire to increase funding for their subway system and I support the MTA getting the money it needs, but I do not support New Jersey residents being screwed over in the process.

By the way: the MTA doesn’t even need this additional congestion tax revenue to fund their programs! They don’t need this money to stay afloat, they also backed off raising the tolls like they had originally said. In June, the Chief Financial Officer of the MTA, Bob Foran said so himself, commenting that MTA is “not in a position now to really be needing funds...the congestion pricing proceeds would be for the capital program.” 

What else do they need from Jersey? Do they need us to shine their shoes?

And, here in New Jersey, our taxpayers already contribute to the billions in federal transportation dollars that their subway gets every year, not to mention, as I said, what we pay in New York income taxes and what we spend in their restaurants, stores, and shows. New York can’t just take an additional two-by-four to our head. I’m hoping that New York comes to its senses and eliminates this proposed double tax on Jersey commuters.

That’s why, I’m introducing new bipartisan federal legislation, with Republican New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew, to encourage New York to reconsider their proposed outrageous congestion tax on New Jersey commuters.

The Anti-Congestion Tax Act — or, as I also like to call it, the Manhattan Moocher Prevention Act — takes two concrete actions.

First, the Anti-Congestion Tax Act will prohibit the Secretary of Transportation from awarding any new Capital Investment Grants to MTA projects in New York until drivers from the New Jersey crossings into Manhattan receive exemptions from this new congestion tax.

Second, the Anti-Congestion Tax Act will amend the Internal Revenue Code to offer drivers a federal tax credit at the end of the year equal to the amount paid in congestion taxes entering Manhattan from any of the three New Jersey crossings. This will protect Jersey drivers from double taxation.

Third, I want to thank Senator Lagana, and Assemblyman Tully and Assemblywoman Swain for their work in the state legislature to fight back against the congestion tax.  New York can’t decide to whack our families without any consequences and help for our residents and commuters. 

I’ve already supported bipartisan legislation with Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis from Staten Island banning implementation of a congestion tax until we get more information on the economic impact on our constituents and states. Yes, New York hasn’t even held a single public hearing on their proposed regressive congestion tax and its potential impact on New Jersey. 

Congressman Bill Pascrell and I have also asked the Secretary of Transportation to freeze any further action on the congestion tax until the Department actually conducts economic impact studies on the region. After all, 20 percent of the country’s GDP runs through the northeast here – we should probably get this right. 

With the help of the bipartisan legislation that I’m announcing today, we’re fighting back against the proposed New York congestion taxes that are targeting hardworking Jersey families for simply driving into Manhattan. 

When we work together, New Jersey and New York are a tough combination to beat, especially here in the greatest country in the world. But, as Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” New York can easily pull back on this proposal and work with us toward a better solution for all of us. But right now, for my District, we have no other choice but to dig in and fight back, Jersey style, and that’s what we plan to do. Thank you again and may God bless you and may God continue to bless the United State of America.

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