New Jersey Globe: Gottheimer Study Argues That Tolling New Jerseyans Isn’t Necessary For Congestion Pricing Plan

MTA can still raise enough money even if N.J. crossings into Manhattan are exempted, congressman says

Jan 04, 2024


By Joey Fox, January 04 2024

Is tolling New Jerseyans entering lower Manhattan necessary for New York City’s congestion pricing plan to be financially viable? According to a study released today by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), the answer is no.

Gottheimer’s study projects that congestion pricing – which will charge all drivers traveling south of 60th Street in Manhattan, with the proceeds going towards the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) – will raise $3.4 billion a year, well above the plan’s $1 billion-a-year objective. Even if every New Jersey crossing (the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels and 60th Street via the George Washington Bridge) was eliminated, the study finds that the MTA would still raise nearly $1.5 billion.

With those findings in mind, Gottheimer – a longtime opponent of the so-called “Congestion Tax” who once compared the head of the MTA to Ebeneezer Scrooge – is arguing that New Jersey crossings should be exempted from the plan entirely, given that they’re not necessary for the plan to reach its goals.

“This just proves that New York’s Congestion Tax is nothing but a cash grab,” Gottheimer said at a press conference today in Englewood Cliffs. “There is no reason New Jersey drivers can’t be exempt from the Congestion Tax. [The MTA’s] own numbers, and all the numbers that are publicly available, prove that they do not need any revenue from Jersey.”

Gottheimer’s study also touches on several other arguments against congestion pricing, including increased traffic in areas like the congressman’s home of Bergen County as well as potential impacts on the Port Authority, which the study estimates will lose money due to fewer people crossing into Manhattan via tolled bridges and tunnels.

The MTA has already voted to approve the plan as-is, and while there is a period of public comment still ongoing (as well as a federal lawsuit brought by the state of New Jersey), few expect the plan to be substantially changed before implementation. But Gottheimer, alongside a huge number of other New Jersey politicians from both sides of the aisle, has indicated that he won’t stop fighting against it.

“Governor Hochul, Chairman Lieber, you have a few months left to change your mind and work with Jersey,” Gottheimer said. “Today we give you a roadmap of how to afford it: to relieve Jersey drivers fully from the Congestion Tax… You’re still able to raise everything you need and more without levying a nickel of Congestion Tax on anyone coming from Jersey.”

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