Op-Ed: Expanding light rail & PATH is the best way for N.J. to fight congestion pricing


In an editorial, Roselle Park Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Joe Signorello explains why he feels expanding the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and the PATH is the best way for New Jersey to fight congestion pricing.

Roselle Park Mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Joe Signorello. Facebook photo.

As a Mayor, I understand why members of congress and even the governor are lining up to rail against proposed congestion pricing coming from New Jersey to New York.

Standing up for your constituents is important, and I’m sure lots of folks in Northern New Jersey are unhappy about the proposed price increase getting to NYC. Here’s the problem: fighting it is cutting off our noses despite our collective face.

Throughout my career I’ve spent a lot of time going back and forth from West New York. Traffic is a nightmare.

In an ideal world Hudson County, Bergen County, and Union County need a long-term strategic plan for mass transit. Some of that should come from the MTA, and some of that needs to come from New Jersey.

First off, let’s expand the light rail system. While it won’t alleviate congestion to NYC, it will alleviate arteries around Hudson County.

Less cars moving around the NYC crossings means less traffic on Hudson/ Bergen side roads, and easier access into our tunnels and bridges.

I mean can someone please explain to me how we can still in good faith call The Hudson-Bergen County Light Rail the Hudson-Bergen County Light Rail when it doesn’t even go into Bergen County!

This system has so much potential to take cars off the road on our side of the Hudson River if we could just get out of our own way and do the right thing towards expansion.

Oh, by the way, if you take a quick hop over from Bayonne, I’d love to see a connection to EWR airport, Elizabeth and Union County, it’s all doable.

Second, we’re using our political capital in all the wrong ways.

The fight with New York should not be against congestion pricing, it should be working with New York to make sure revenue from pricing goes to help NYC’s neighbor to the East – if you’re going to ding us for taking cars into the city, at least help us with a pathway forward to get in without a car!

The 7 Line expansion to New Jersey is overdue and so is the PATH expansion. We shouldn’t have a tantrum about if/ when/ how congestion pricing is implemented.

We should be sitting down with New York’s political leadership to make sure New Jersey sees long-term benefit from said policy. Congestion pricing revenue should in part be proportionally shared with NJ Transit and NJ municipalities.

If the goal is to reduce overall traffic to Manhattan during rush hour, just charging us isn’t going to do it. We need more transit car free options!

As a mayor, and a realist, I’d love to see everyone adopting mass transit overnight, but culturally in America we aren’t there, and our systems aren’t even up to snuff yet to handle this.

So for those of you who rely on your car or absolutely need to use your car in and around NYC – I hear you and I see you. With that said, there’s plenty of us who are happy to take mass transit if done right. Let mass transit help you.

Every time someone like me can take a train instead of clogging up the car lanes in Hudson County you win, the environment wins, our public safety and health improve, and most importantly rush hour might be a little less hellish for everyone.

I’m not saying our political leaders don’t have a right to put up a fight for NJ on congestion pricing, I just think we’re putting up the wrong fight.


Joseph Signorello III is the two-term Mayor of Roselle Park, and candidate for US Senate.

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