CBS New York: New Jersey lawmakers gearing up for fight against congestion pricing

Jun 27, 2023
In the News

BY CHRISTINE SLOAN

Watch CBS New York here: New Jersey lawmakers gearing up for fight against congestion pricing

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Federal Highway Administration has given New York the go-ahead to implement congestion pricing.

In New Jersey, drivers are steaming mad and the state’s governor and other lawmakers are vowing to fight the plan.

Anyone driving into Manhattan below 60th Street will feel the pain of congestion pricing. Proposals range from $9 to $23 during peak hours.

New York lawmakers say the plan will reduce traffic, but New Jersey drivers say it is not fair.

“My husband and I go into the city a bunch and to have to pay. That extra is very hard,” said Sarah Stephens of Parsippany.

For Stephens, the cost is adding up.

“It is just the two of us now, but we are still paying $150 a week for groceries because grocery prices have gone so high. So to have to pay extra for other things is not helpful,” she said.

READ MORE: Congestion pricing plan unfairly targets New Jersey drivers, Gottheimer says on “The Point”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the state has retained two attorneys to explore all legal options.

“We will continue to stand resolutely against a tolling scheme that will disproportionately burden environmental justice communities and severely harm our commuters and transit agencies,” a spokesperson for the governor said.

Congressman Josh Gottheimer told CBS New York he has introduced legislation to take money away from the MTA.

“This is just a cash grab for the MTA. They are desperate for dollars, so they look into hard-working commuters here from Jersey to be their piggy bank to pay their for the mismanagement,” Gottheimer said.

He also said the MTA’s own study shows congestion pricing will increase traffic.

“It said that congestion pricing will actually lead to more pollution and more traffic, specifically. You’ll have backups of trucks outside of George Washington Bridge and the outer boroughs,” Gottheimer said.

But some New Jersey residents say they are for the plan.

“I think it will reduce traffic,” one person said.

“There is no fairness. There is only government trying to make ends meet,” another said.

Now that New York City has gotten the green light, the program can be rolled out as soon as next spring. However, the governor and lawmakers in New Jersey say it’s not a done deal, adding they plan on fighting congestion pricing every step of the way.

New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez also adding Tuesday he will not stop fighting until he defeats the plan.

“I am outraged at the Federal Highway Administration’s decision to move forward with the Finding of No Significant Impact for New York’s and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Congestion Tax proposal without conducting a full and comprehensive review of the environmental impacts in New Jersey or the financial impact on low-income communities and commuters. This is nothing more than a cash grab to fund the MTA. There is no excuse for FHWA and the Department of Transportation’s failure to require New York to meaningfully engage with stakeholders across New Jersey and to not adequately consult the New Jersey congressional delegation and other elected officials. This process has been mired by a lack of transparency and a refusal to properly include all affected stakeholders. I will not stop fighting until we defeat this plan and ensure New York is not allowed to balance its budget on the backs of hard-working New Jersey families. That’s a Jersey promise,” Menendez said in a statement.

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