New Jersey's fight over New York City's congestion pricing plan heads back to court

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, April 4, 2024
New Jersey strikes back against NYC's congestion pricing plan
Toni Yates has the story in Newark on congestion pricing.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- A federal judge in Newark will continue to hear arguments Thursday in the State of New Jersey's lawsuit over New York's first-in-the-nation congestion pricing.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says he's seeking a full federal impact study on the potential environmental effects of the plan.

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The lawsuit is one of several seeking to stop the new $15 toll for passenger cars driving into the heart of Manhattan.

Under the plan, vehicles driving south of 60th Street from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays would be charged but, New Jersey's lawsuit said when the Federal Highway Administration signed off, it "failed to adequately consider the environmental impacts" and "ignored the significant financial burden being placed on New Jerseyans and New Jersey's transportation system."

"You are not eliminating pollution, you are just displacing it from Manhattan to New Jersey," Murphy told reporters on Tuesday. "And you're charging our commuters an exorbitant fee on top of that."

Over in the Garden State, more than 400,000 New Jersey residents commute into Manhattan every day and will pay millions of dollars to the MTA, meant to improve mass transit.

"The end result is that New Jersey will bear much of the burden of this congestion pricing scheme-in terms of environmental, financial, and human impacts, but receive none of its benefits," the state's lawsuit said.

The MTA has disputed the state's claims of lax reviews and objectionable tolls.

"You got to be kidding! New Jersey collects millions from New York drivers who use the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, but it's somehow unconstitutional for New York to toll its own roads?" MTA chief of policy and external relations John McCarthy said in January.

As part of the MTA's plan, parts of the Bronx would receive $35 million for mitigation. The plan does not specify a dollar amount set aside for New Jersey, but the agency says it is committing to mitigation where needed.

New Jersey is asking that congestion pricing switches stay off until another detailed study is done -- especially since the MTA expanded congestion pricing peak time by two hours and approved the higher $15 base rate after the first impact study was completed.

The judge says he anticipates a ruling by early June, and congestion pricing is set to go into effect sometime that month.

Drivers who make less than $50,000 per year can apply for a discount and drivers who enter from the Lincoln, Holland, Battery and Queens-Midtown tunnels receive a credit since they're also paying a toll.

The Murphy administration has asked the MTA to increase the proposed $5 toll credit to $10 and extend it to the George Washington Bridge, which would have no toll credit since it's above the congestion zone.

ALSO READ | Half of NYC families lack enough income to survive without assistance: report

Anthony Carlo has more on the cost of living in New York City.


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