NORTH JERSEY — Today, May 5, 2023, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer released the following statement following the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) decision that New York and the MTA can move to the next step with their Congestion Tax — despite the MTA admitting in their own Environmental Assessment that the Congestion Tax will harm the environment.
“The U.S. Department of Transportation has ignored serious environmental impacts by moving to the next step with New York’s and the MTA’s cash-grabbing Congestion Tax. By the MTA’s own admission, their Congestion Tax plan would increase air pollution in New Jersey this year and until 2045. The Congestion Tax will send more trucks into northern New Jersey by the GW Bridge and into the outer boroughs to areas just outside of the tolling zone — hurting lower income families. The Bronx alone could face 700 more trucks every day contributing to massive pollution. The MTA also admitted that children in Bergen County near I-95 and the George Washington Bridge and in the Bronx will face increased air pollutants and toxins. Now, the Department of Transportation is doing the MTA’s bidding. They want to stick it to our families and commuters with a $23-a-day tax, but we won’t stand for it in Jersey — the fight is just beginning. I’m demanding the Department of Transportation reconsider their decision in the next 30 days.”
The New York Times reported that the MTA’s own environmental assessment showed that motorists avoiding the new tolls could add traffic and soot to parts of the Bronx, Staten Island, Nassau County on Long Island and Bergen County in New Jersey.
According to the New York Times, the MTA is prepared to invest revenue raised from tolling to mitigate the expected negative environmental impacts on the Bronx and outer boroughs— but not in New Jersey. This is expected to be $130 million.
In the Bronx, the diverted traffic from the Congestion Tax would increase the soot from truck traffic by about 5%, and overall soot — which also comes from factories, building boilers and other sources — by 1%. Proposed solutions include air filtration units near schools, more vegetation, and spending $25 million on an asthma treatment program.
Page 10-21 of the MTA’s Environmental Assessment states that The Bronx, Richmond (Staten Island), Nassau, and Bergen Counties estimate increases in pollutants should the Congestion Tax be implemented this year.
Page 10-37 of the MTA’s Environmental Assessment states that there would be an increase in mobile air toxins.
Page 10-40 shows a map that clearly indicates an increase in air toxins in New Jersey both if implemented this year and in 2045, well after this program would take effect.
Pages 10–26 through 10-34 state that there would be increases of particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide in Bergen County in 2023.