RELEASE: Gottheimer Testifies Against MTA’s Congestion Tax During Public Hearing

Aug 30, 2022
Press

Calls for the MTA to Reverse Course

Comments Overwhelmingly Against Congestion Tax

NORTH JERSEY — Today, August 30, 2022, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) testified during tonight’s public hearing to stand up against New York and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) cash-grabbing Congestion Tax. 

New York and the MTA’s Congestion Tax could go into effect as early as 2023 and would cost Jersey and New York drivers up to $23 dollars a day — more than $5,000 a year — on top of the already far-too-high $16-a-day tolls for our bridges and tunnels, to drive south of 60th Street to work in New York City from Jersey. No revenue from the Congestion Tax goes to support New Jersey, unlike the shared Port Authority tolls.

“I join an overwhelming majority of those who’ve already testified in strongly opposing the MTA’s outrageous Congestion Tax, not only because it will drain our families’ pocketbooks and small businesses who are already struggling, but it also does nothing to actually help the environment or ease congestion,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) during his testimony at tonight’s MTA hearing. “In fact, for those of us in North Jersey near bridges and tunnels, to those in the outer boroughs, and north of 60th in Manhattan, the Congestion Tax, by the MTA’s own admission, will lead to more traffic and pollution, disproportionately hurt lower income families, and poison our children’s air.”

Members of the public can submit comments to the MTA opposing the Congestion Tax to make their voices heard before September 9, 2022. Typed and recorded video comments can be emailed to CBDTP@mtabt.org or submitted at mta-nyc.custhelp.com/app/cbd_tolling

A recording of Gottheimer’s testimony can be found here.

Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

My name is Josh Gottheimer and I represent New Jersey’s Fifth District in Congress. From nurses working the early shift to restaurant workers and Uber drivers working the late shift, many of the residents in my district and across North Jersey have no other choice but to drive to New York to make a living. 

I join an overwhelming majority of those who’ve already testified in strongly opposing the MTA’s outrageous Congestion Tax, not only because it will drain our families’ pocketbooks and small businesses who are already struggling, but it also does nothing to actually help the environment or ease congestion. In fact, for those of us in North Jersey near bridges and tunnels, to those in the outer boroughs, and north of 60th in Manhattan, the Congestion Tax, by the MTA’s own admission, will lead to more traffic and pollution, disproportionately hurt lower income families, and poison our children’s air.

From the MTA’s perspective, they desperately need the cash. Despite the recent surge of 15 billion in federal COVID dollars, their woeful mismanagement and lax enforcement of fare collection has led to a $2.5 billion budget deficit. In their eyes, who better to pay the bills than Jersey drivers and the outer boroughs? And the number is eye-poppingly insane. 

Can you imagine a hard-working nurse or taxi driver from Jersey having to pay $23 dollars a day — or $5,000 a year — on top of the $16 dollars they pay to go over the GW Bridge? When you add gas and parking, that’s $20,000 a year. 

Well, I’m sorry to say to the MTA, New Jersey is not your ATM machine. We’re not your piggy bank. 

And let me be clear, every scenario the MTA released will whack drivers with a new tax. That’s why there’s been such an outcry of opposition — from taxies, Uber, Lyft; small businesses that will get whacked, and so many hard-working families. 

Parents shouldn’t have to choose between spending money on their families or paying this absurd tax. Elderly and people with disabilities who have no choice but to drive because of their health should not be forced to travel on the dangerous, dirty, and inaccessible subway or instead pay a Congestion Tax. People should not be taxed for driving to receive lifesaving care at Beth Israel or NYU because they can’t risk being on public transit. This is nothing more than a cash grab to fund the terribly mismanaged MTA.  

I hope New York’s Mayor and Governor are listening because our families, Governor Murphy, the city’s small business owners, and taxi and Uber drivers are telling the MTA to reverse course on their Congestion Tax plan. This public pushback is overwhelming.

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