NJ Governor Murphy calls MTA's congestion pricing plan discounts for residents a ripoff

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, December 1, 2023
Governor Murphy calls congestion pricing plan and discounts a rip off
Anthony Carlo reports on the discounts and response from NJ to the latest congestion pricing proposal.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The MTA revealed more details of its congestion pricing plan, slated to start next spring.

The Traffic Mobility Review Board released its recommendations for pricing which is lower than what was originally proposed, but still more than many are prepared to pay.

Details unveiled at a news conference in Lower Manhattan included the cost of entering the congestion zone, which is expected to be $15 for cars in most cases.

Commercial trucks could pay as much as $24 to $36, depending on their size, and it will be $7.50 for a motorcycle. Taxi riders can expect an additional $1.25 per fare, while ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft are expected to add an extra $2.50 per ride.

One accommodation sought by drivers has been a credit for entering the congestion zone via bridges and tunnels.

Under the plan, vehicles entering Manhattan through any of the Hudson or East River tunnels would get a break. Cars would receive a $5 credit. And trucks and buses would get $12-$20

Despite angry criticism from politicians and residents in New Jersey, there would be no similar credits for motorists crossing the George Washington Bridge before entering Midtown.

Commuting at night will also save drivers, as there will be a 75% reduction in congestion pricing fees between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.

There will also be discounts of 50% off for low-income drivers making multiple trips.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy called the plan a rip off.

"It's ripping off New Jersey commuters to pay for whatever financial failings the MTA has. We're considering all of our options including further legal action," Murphy said.

"I am a little surprised that the state of New Jersey continues to push back when all we're trying to do is invest in our own transit system on our own territory. They don't ask our permission to put tolls on the Garden State Parkway, that's for sure," said Janno Lieber, MTA CEO.

The new tolls are intended to reduce traffic through Midtown and Lower Manhattan, while raising up to a billion dollars a year for the MTA's capital plan-maintaining and upgrading the New York City transit system.

"I know there's going to be an impact, but we have to also deal with the larger picture-protecting and cleaning up our environment, protecting the quality of air, protecting mobility on our streets, and also protecting our financial stability of the MTA, because without that, it all collapses," said Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Mayor Eric Adams also supports congestion pricing and said those who can pay more to drive should. He said there is plenty of mass transit options in the congestion pricing zone. He added that he would like to see more exemptions, including for people making trips to the city for medical visits.

This comes after New Jersey officials came face to face with officials from the MTA in court earlier this month to express concern over the tolling.

Gov. Murphy has said congestion pricing will create more traffic and pollution in the Garden State as people try to find ways to avoid paying the toll. He also said there will be more traffic troubles at the George Washington Bridge under the current congestion pricing proposal.

He said excluding the George Washington Bridge from the congestion pricing credit is simply "displacing pollution from northern Manhattan to New Jersey."

New Jersey is already suing New York, and Murphy said, "My guess is you are going to see more legal action from us."

The Taxi Workers Alliance says this "will devastate an entire workforce" that has already been devastated several times over.

Public hearings will be held in February of 2024. After the public hearing process, the MTA Board will review input received from the public and then schedule a vote.


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