In a letter to the MTA Traffic Mobility Review Board Chair Carl Weisbrod, Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jim Kirkos says that their congestion pricing “hits New Jersey residents like sitting ducks.”
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“The Environmental Assessment report proposes a total of 7 different scenarios — all of which would have unacceptable consequences for New Jersey commuters traveling into Manhattan and for New Jersey companies and non-profits doing business in New York City,” Kirkos wrote.
“The MTA’s plan hits New Jersey residents like sitting ducks with little or no concern over the economic impact to our businesses and commuters. For a New Jerseyan earning the median income, adding $20 a day to commuting costs totals more than $5200 per year and amounts to 6% of their pretax income – not including the other tolls, fuel and parking expenses associated with their commute.”
Kirkos was also critical of the fact that they have no representation on the MTA review board, who he asserts did little outreach, and that none of the funds will be allocated to NJ Transit as it stands today.
“Since one of the stated goals of the CBDTP is to ‘address congestion in the CBD [Central Business District,]’ one of the most obvious beneficial aspects of the proposal would be to exempt all commuter and chartered buses entering the CBD to encourage commuters to use mass transit and thereby reducing automobile congestion in the zone.”
He also questioned how much consideration was given to the environmental impact on this side of the river.
The letter is also carbon copied to Gov. Phil Murphy (D), Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY), and U.S. Rep Josh Gottheimer (D-5).
This weekend, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the state branch of E-Z Pass began sending out alerts opposing the congestion pricing, claiming this “could significantly increase commuter costs, overburden our public transit systems, and cause congestion in North Jersey communities.”
On Monday, Murphy said now is not the time for congestion pricing at an unrelated event in Atlantic City. Meanwhile, Gottheimer earlier this month proposed offering incentives to have New York businesses expand to NJ to balance out congestion pricing.
The Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce has nearly 1,200 members from areas such as Jersey City, Hackensack, Weehawken, Union City, Hoboken, Carlstadt, Wood-Ridge, Clifton, Paramus, Leonia, Fort Lee, Fair Lawn, Moonachie, Lodi, Hasbrouck Heights, Secaucus, East Rutherford, and Lyndhurst, among others.