‘We will bear the burdens.’ NJ officials announce lawsuit to block congestion pricing plan

Gov. Phil Murphy says that congestion pricing favors New York and takes advantage of New Jersey residents.

Matt Trapani and Ali Reid

Jul 21, 2023, 4:37 PM

Updated 330 days ago

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New Jersey officials have announced a lawsuit to block New York’s congestion pricing plan. Gov. Phil Murphy and other lawmakers announced the lawsuit on Friday in Fort Lee – near the George Washington Bridge.
The governor says congestion pricing favors New York and takes advantage of New Jersey residents. He says that the Garden State is not meant to fund New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“We will bear the burdens of congestion pricing while New York City gets the benefits – and that’s not fair,” Murphy said.
The governor criticized the Federal Highway Administration and said that the latest congestion pricing plan doesn’t account for the economic and environmental burdens New Jersey will take on.
“Unfortunately, New York’s proposal will prompt toll shopping where more drivers will seek other routes to avoid paying the highest tolls, resulting in more traffic and more pollution in certain areas,” Murphy said.
New York officials said they are ultimately hoping to cut back on traffic while raising billions of dollars for mass transit. Workers were seen Friday morning installing the first toll gantry along West 61st Street in Manhattan. The MTA says drivers entering Manhattan’s business district could start getting charged as soon as May of 2024.
“At a time when prices are rising, this massive increase in tolls would mean hundreds of dollars a month for families who need that money for essentials,” Murphy said.
Drivers could be charged $23 during rush hour and $7 to $17 during off-peak hours. Some truck drivers say congestion pricing could mean the end of their businesses as they'll be knocked out with the added fees.
Murphy was greeted by protesters Friday morning who represent the Tristate Transportation Campaign. They argue the impact on New Jersey drivers is minimal because the vast majority of Garden State commuters already take mass transit.
"The governor himself has not sought out solutions to fund his own transportation system, NJ Transit, here in the state,” says Jaqi Cohen, director of climate and equity at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign
MTA official John McCarthy called Murphy’s event a “pro-traffic rally” and said the lawsuit is “baseless.”
“The 4,000-page Environmental Assessment performed by MTA, New York State DOT and New York City DOT was supervised at every stage and specifically approved by the Biden Administration. Contrary to any claim that there was insufficient study, the EA actually covered every conceivable potential traffic, air quality, social and economic effect, and also reviewed and responded to more than 80,000 comments and submissions,” McCarthy wrote.


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