Could this new plan save NJ drivers from a congestion pricing nightmare?
🚗 NJ congressman unveils a plan to stop congestion pricing in NYC
🚗The proposal would provide relief for drivers in NJ and NY
🚗The MTA is blasted as a money-grubbing, corrupt agency
Despite ongoing howls of protest from New Jersey residents, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority congestion pricing plan, if approved by the Federal Highway Administration, could take effect by the end of this year.
The MTA proposal would cost drivers heading below 60th street in Manhattan an extra $23 dollars a trip, but a New Jersey congressman has unveiled a new effort to try to stop it.
Standing on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., 5th District, said new bipartisan Anti-Congestion Tax Act i s being introduced "to help ensure New Jersey and New York drivers who commute into New York City are not hit with this regressive, punitive congestion tax.”
Freeze federal dollars to stop the congestion tax
Gottheimer said “our anti-congestion tax legislation will freeze federal dollars sent each year to the MTA, which totals approximately $2 billion a year, if the agency decides to go forward with this tax.”
Gottheimer said the measure “will prohibit the U.S. Department of Transportation from awarding any capital investment grants to MTA projects in New York until drivers from Jersey and outer boroughs using crossings into Manhattan receive exemptions from any congestion tax.”
The legislation, co-sponsored by U.S. Rep Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., 2nd District and U.S. Rep Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., will also amend the U.S. tax code to offer commuters from New Jersey and New York a federal tax credit at the end of the year equal to the amount they paid in a congestion tax.
It's not a partisan issue
Gottheimer said “we’re going to work together, all of us, to fight the congestion tax, there’s nothing partisan about this, it’s just what’s good for our drivers, our commuters.”
He said the MTA is running a $2 billion deficit despite receiving billions a year from the federal government and an extra $15 billion during the pandemic and a separate investigation should be launched.
“I don’t know what they’ve done with this money. I’ve said I think they were out on an all-night bender, I’m not really sure.”
He said the MTA is so mismanaged and so corrupt that a judge “described them as an orgy of overtime fraud.”
Gottheimer accused New York and the MTA of playing Russian roulette with their economy and said congestion pricing is an outrageous and unacceptable idea.
“Can you imagine a hardworking nurse or taxi driver having to pay $5,000 a year on top of the $17 they pay to go over the GW Bridge, if you add gas and parking that’s $20,000 a year.”
He said not only is the congestion pricing plan a blatant outlandish money-grab, but it will actually increase congestion as well as pollution on both sides of the Hudson River.
The MTA insists congestion pricing in necessary to overhaul and modernize the New York subway system.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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