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Pascrell, Gottheimer move to block congestion pricing

By Nikita Biryukov, April 17 2019 4:50 pm

Editor’s Note: This article was updated with comment from Senate President Steve Sweeney 

Reps. Bill Pascrell and Josh Gottheimer plan to introduce legislation to stop the congestion pricing plan passed by New York lawmakers.

“Proposing a new regressive congestion tax out of the blue on New Jersey commuters who already pay a fortune is no way to make this region stronger. I’m hoping that New York comes to its senses and we can sit down together, cooperatively and constructively, and eliminate this new double tax on Jersey commuters. New York can’t just take an additional 2×4 to our head,” Gottheimer said.

The action follows a letter penned by the two congressmen to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that urged him to reconsider congestion pricing.

“New Jerseyans are used to getting the short end of the stick. It’s part of why we’re so tough. But we pay our fair share – and then some,” Pascrell said. “What we’re proposing is sensible, as the needs of commuters in the region go beyond what happens in Lower Manhattan. New Jersey and New York should be on the same team. We should not be in competition and should work to achieve shared goals for our region.”

Congestion pricing would add a surcharge for commuters driving south of 60th Street in Manhattan.

All funds raised by the surcharge would go towards renovations for New York’s subway system.

Gottheimer said he intends to introduce legislation with Rep. Chris Smith, the state’s last remaining Republican member of Congress, to dissuade New York from moving forward with the plan.

“The Anti-Congestion Tax Act – or, as I like to also call it, the Manhattan Moocher Prevention Act, takes two concrete actions to stop New York in their tracks,” Gottheimer said.

Senate President Steve Sweeney took a less combative approach to the ongoing negotiations around congestion pricing.

Sweeney, whose district lies far from the areas of North Jersey most likely to be affected by the plan, said he was confident New Jersey would get its say before the plan goes into effect.

“After conferring with Governor Cuomo on the MTA’s efforts to implement Manhattan’s central business district tolling, I am confident that we will have a voice in the process that will allow us to protect the interests of New Jersey’s motorists,” Sweeney said. “We will work in a coordinated way with the MTA, New York State, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and with other jurisdictions to develop a fair tolling system that will help ease traffic congestion and hold down costs.”

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