NEW YORK (WABC) — New Jersey lawmakers are standing up with labor workers and first responders against the MTA’s congestion pricing plan.
Critics said Tuesday it will have a disastrous impact on anyone who commutes into New York City and future Port Authority capital projects.
Congressman Josh Gottheimer said the plan will price out 20% of drivers from coming into the congestion zone below 60th Street in Manhattan.
“Fewer commuters equals fewer tolls, fewer investment for infrastructure, that’s $1.25 billion less than the Port Authority’s capital projects, the MTA is literally robbing Peter to pay Paul to help themselves out,” Gottheimer said.
Gov. Phil Murphy had previously announced that the Garden State is suing over the plan. He called it an “unreasonable and unprecedented” policy “favoring New York at the expense of its neighbors.”
New York officials have said the first-in-the-nation plan is part of an effort to reduce traffic, to improve air quality and to raise funds for the city’s public transit system. Murphy, though, said commuters headed in to the city will instead find different ways to avoid paying higher tolls, resulting in more traffic and more pollution.
People headed into Manhattan already pay big tolls to use many of the bridges and tunnels connecting commuters across the Hudson, East and Harlem Rivers. The special tolls for the southern half of Manhattan would come on top of those existing charges. Taxi and car service drivers have objected to the plan, saying it would make fares unaffordable.
The new tolls are expected to generate another $1 billion yearly, which would be used to finance upgrading the subway, bus and commuter rail systems operated by the MTA.
The state Legislature approved a conceptual plan for congestion pricing back in 2019, but the coronavirus pandemic combined with a lack of guidance from federal regulators stalled the project.
The congestion pricing plan is expected to take effect next spring.
Next week the Traffic Mobility Review Board will meet to solidify just how much drivers will be charged when they enter Manhattan below 60th Street.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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