NJ legislation would pay drivers for congestion toll in New York – NBC New York
What there is to know
- NJ lawmakers announced legislation that would charge non-New Jersey motorists additional fees when crossing from New Jersey to New York on toll bridges and tunnels
- The money raised would go into a fund to reimburse New Jersey commuters who could be paid up to an additional $ 3,000 per year under the New York plan.
- It is not known whether New Jersey could impose a fee on motorists traveling to New York via tolls administered by the New York and New Jersey Port Authority.
Some New Jersey lawmakers are turning their anger at New York’s plans to charge motorists an additional toll to enter downtown Manhattan, they say will lessen some of the impact – foreign drivers foot the bill.
On Monday, they announced legislation that would charge non-New Jersey motorists additional fees when crossing from New Jersey to New York on toll bridges and tunnels. The money raised would go into a fund to reimburse New Jersey commuters who could be paid up to an additional $ 3,000 per year under the New York plan.
An official with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the city’s subways that will benefit from the additional tolls collected, called New Jersey’s plan “legally questionable.”
It is also unclear whether New Jersey could charge motorists who travel to New York through tolls managed by the New York and New Jersey Port Authority.
Called congestion pricing, the New York plan would be the first of its kind in any US city and would add a surcharge to drivers entering the city core, likely defined as the southern border from Central Park to Battery Park in the tip of lower Manhattan. Many details still need to be finalized.
US Democratic Representative Josh Gottheimer, New Jersey State Senator Joseph Lagana, Congressman Lisa Swain, and Assemblyman Chris Tully have variously described New York’s plan as “offensive”, “unthinkable” and “a slap in the face.” face”. Gottheimer said he and fellow Democratic Representative Bill Pascrell asked Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to conduct an economic impact review before giving final approval to the project.
The New York legislature approved a conceptual plan for congestion pricing two years ago and it was originally expected to be in place by this year. But the pandemic and the lack of guidance from federal regulators on the type of environmental review required combined to stall the project. This guidance was provided at the end of March.
New York plans to use toll revenues, estimated at $ 1 billion a year, to issue bonds to raise funds to renovate the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s aging subway system.
Gottheimer noted that none of the funds raised by the congestion pricing plan would go to transit systems operating in New Jersey, which also need upgrades.
“These dollars raised through New York’s proposed congestion tax plan will only go to New York, primarily to the MTA to help fix their subways, not a cent to actually help our state in any way,” did he declare.
In an email Monday, Ken Lovett, senior advisor to MTA President and CEO Patrick Foye, questioned New Jersey’s plan.
“Now is not the time for NIMBYism and legally dubious taxation,” Lovett said. “Charging congestion will benefit everyone who comes to New York, including those from New Jersey, by reducing traffic and improving air quality. We are at the start of a transparent process that will take into consideration possible credits, discounts and exemptions for tolls paid on bridges and level crossings, and this process must be successful. “
While motorists entering central New York directly through the Lincoln and Holland tunnels should be exempted or benefit from a reduction in the congestion toll, drivers coming from the George Washington Bridge from northern New Jersey and driving south to the city center are not yet assured of the same. advantage. Bridge and tunnel crossings currently cost $ 16 for cars paying in cash and $ 13.75 with E-ZPass during rush hour.
“New Jersey is not New York’s piggy bank,” Lagana said. “If New York wants New Jersey people to come back to work in the city, that’s absolute madness.”
Gottheimer said New Jersey would be able to assess the charges through the state’s E-ZPass system at the port authority toll booths because they are on New Jersey property.
The Port Authority declined to comment on the plan.