Congestion pricing will increase pollution in NJ, claims latest lawsuit attempting to stop measure

Anthony Johnson Image
Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Lawsuit claims congestion pricing will increase pollution in NJ
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Anthony Johnson has more on a lawsuit claiming congestion pricing will increase pollution in New Jersey.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- A class action lawsuit filed Wednesday claims New York City's planned congestion pricing will create more pollution and pose a health risk to people in New Jersey.

Congestion pricing would charge motorists for driving south of 60th Street in Manhattan and is supposed to reduce traffic in Lower Manhattan, thus improving air quality and making it safer.

At a briefing Wednesday near the entrance to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey lawmakers and commuters argued the plan would cause traffic that's normally headed downtown in Manhattan to instead go over the span as drivers avoid the toll.

That could mean many more cars and trucks going into New Jersey.

"And with that comes pollutants, filth, dirt, atmosphere. It impacts everybody in my borough," Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich said.

Sokolich is now the lead plaintiff in a civil lawsuit seeking to slow the MTA's plan to implement congestion pricing in the spring of 2024.

New Jersey officials want a full environmental study on the impact the plan will have on residents.

"I said that we've had enough of New York looking at Jersey as their piggy bank to solve their years of criminal mismanagment of the MTA. A judge even referred to the MTA as an 'orgy of overtime fraud,'" Rep. Josh Gottheimer said.

Jersey lawmakers say the MTA is providing additional money to the bronx to help families that may suffer from the environmental impact of congestion pricing.

But nothing is set aside for New Jersey residents who could face poor air quality as more traffic uses the GWB to avoid the congestion tolls.

"It will spew toxic pollutants into the air and water and will especially affect those with asthma and resperatory illness," attorney Bruce Nagle said.

The new class action lawsuits seeks an immediate stop to the congestion tax and a full and proper environmental study from the Department of Transportation, that includes the impact on New Jersey.

If the court does not stop congestion pricing, the lawsuit seeks to have New York provide funding for a medical monitoring program to evaluate and treat respiratory distress and asthma resulting from the congestion tax.


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