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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Deal or no deal? Murphy cagey on congestion pricing talks

By Nikita Biryukov, April 25 2019 2:42 pm

The deal between Gov. Phil Murphy and Gov. Andrew Cuomo on congestion pricing isn’t much of a deal.

Murphy on Wednesday said he and Cuomo had reached a “conceptual understanding” on the proposal, which would create a surcharge of roughly $10 for commuters heading into midtown south of 60th St. Later that day, Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye appeared to contradict Murphy by telling reporters no deal had been reached.

“Conceptual understanding is the word I’ve used and I’ll continue to use,” Murphy said when asked about the apparent disagreement at a press conference on an unrelated matter Thursday.

It’s not clear what a “conceptual understanding” entails, though Murphy said his comments Wednesday were based on conversations between him and Cuomo.

Cuomo didn’t comment on Murphy’s statements Wednesday, instead deferring to Foye’s comments on the matter.

Foye and Murphy chief of staff George Helmy have since had discussed the matter, the governor said, but it’s not clear what the product of those discussions was or what they entailed.

Murphy did say he had made his priorities clear to his New York counterpart.

New Jersey’s governor said he is seeking to prevent congestion pricing from hitting New Jersey commuters with another toll and to minimize disruptions to traffic patterns on the George Washington Bridge and Lincoln and Holland Tunnels.

Both Cuomo and Murphy are in agreement on the need for electronic tolling, but past that, their public statements don’t shed much light onto the state of ongoing negotiations, though Murphy indicated that could be intentional.

“It’s been an extremely complicated process,” Murphy said. “And, I’m saying what I’m saying because it’s in the first half of the first inning, and I want to make sure folks in jersey know that we’ve got their back. we’re looking out for them. They won’t be discriminated. They won’t double taxed.”

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