Federal lawmakers propose legislation to prevent New York from implementing congestion pricing
New York and New Jersey lawmakers teamed up on Thursday to announce bipartisan legislation to put an end to the MTA’s proposal to charge commuters more to travel from New Jersey into Manhattan.
“This is simple – if the MTA wants to move forward and [Gov. Kathy Hochul] wants to move forward to tax suburban commuters, they will get no more federal dollars,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer says.
Gottheimer, a Democrat, was joined by Republican Rep. Mike Lawler, of New York, at the foot of the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee.
“What’s now being proposed by New York will decimate the budgets and financial conditions of many of our residents in the region,” says Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich.
If the congestion pricing plan goes forward, the proposed Anti Congestion Tax Act would prohibit the United States Department of Transportation from awarding any new Capital Investment Grants to MTA projects until drivers get exemptions from the congestion tax.
It would also amend the U.S. tax code to offer commuters a federal tax credit at the end of the year equal to the amount they paid in congestions taxes.
“Many of us live in mass transit deserts where there just aren’t a lot of options for mass transit,” Gottheimer says.
The MTA says that congestion pricing is needed to fund important projects, improve the environment and ease traffic. But the lawmakers say that the agency needs to find another way.
“It’ll protect families and stick it to the MTA so maybe they’ll wake up and manage the agency properly, instead of the complete disaster they’ve been running for years,” Gottheimer says.
Gov. Hochul said in a statement that she believes in congestion pricing and won’t be deterred by what she calls “sideshows” or press conferences. She has not said when congestion pricing may go into effect.