Standing outside of the New Jersey entrance to the Holland Tunnel this morning, U.S. Reps. Rob Menendez (D-8) and Josh Gottheimer (D-5) blasted New York City’s congestion pricing plan, specifically its adverse impact on New Jersey residents and communities.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“New York’s congestion pricing plan stands to push traffic and pollution to our communities while also shifting revenue from the Port Authority to the MTA. While New York is funding environmental mitigation in the Bronx – they refuse to do so for our communities,” Menendez said in a statement.
“And instead of working with us to support the new Port Authority Bus Terminal, PATH service, and to expand the NYC Subway’s 7 line to New Jersey, New York is working to shift revenue to the MTA to the detriment of our bus and train commuters. I am committed to working with Rep. Gottheimer, our Congressional delegation, and Governor Murphy to fight this inequitable plan.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the congestion pricing plan would be moving forward on Friday, which Gottheimer, Gov. Phil Murphy (D), and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) quickly came out against.
The new tax could cost New Jersey and New York commuters up to $23 dollars a day in tolls.
Gottheimer, who co-chairs the Congressional Anti-Congestion Tax Caucus, announced the Make Transportation Authorities Accountable and Transparent Act in March.
This would require the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a full audit of the MTA to see how it has spent billions in federal assistance over the past five years.
“Rather than listen to facts and families — like the 75% of those who testified against the Congestion Tax in public hearings — the U.S. Department of Transportation is choosing to ignore the facts that the MTA submitted to the federal government in their own reports about the negative environmental effects of congestion pricing,” added Gottheimer.
“In their own report last year, the MTA admitted to the DOT that the Congestion Tax will not only cause more traffic here at the tunnel and at the Lincoln and GW Bridge, but that it will also increase air pollution affecting our children and families. The DOT’s response? Don’t bother submitting a more in-depth environmental impact study. A little odd for an Administration that claims to be committed to protecting the environment.”
Other concerns expressed by the federal lawmakers included increasing air pollution in New Jersey and areas of New York outside Manhattan, New Jersey not receiving any revenues from the MTA, causing more traffic in NJ’s 8th District, and costing the Port Authority up to $125 million in annual lost toll revenues.
Additionally,Menendez highlighted that New York’s plan includes no expansion of the New York City Subway’s 7 line to Secaucus Junction – a solution previously proposed by New York that would provide a real commuting alternative and get cars off the road.
Gottheimer, whose district includes portions of Bergen, Passaic, and Sussex Counties, made a rare appearance in Jersey City today as he is widely viewed as a potential Democratic candidate for governor in 2025.
For the time being, the only declared candidate on either side of the aisle is Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who announced last month.