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Feud over NY congestion pricing looming

Murphy-Cuomo rivalry may see a comeback

By Nikita Biryukov, April 04 2019 1:30 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be headed toward a battle over a congestion pricing plan being enacted in New York City’s Midtown.

“I have strong concerns, starting with the lack of signals from the MTA that either George Washington Bridge commuters will be treated equally with commuters entering Midtown Manhattan via the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels or that NJ Transit and PATH will get additional capital support from congestion pricing,” Murphy said, adding that he wouldn’t stand for commuters on the GWB paying extra tolls.

Under the congestion pricing plan passed by New York lawmakers, tolls for motorists entering midtown south of 60th Street could be as high as $25, with the additional revenue going to improvements to the city’s subway system.

New Jersey’s commuters, Murphy said, would simply stop using the GWB and enter the city via the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels or via NJ Transit or PATH trains, adding further strain to the already beleaguered entryways without providing any funding to ease the same.

“The solution cannot be one with the unintended consequences of making traffic worse and increasing reliance on regional rail partners without their receiving additional support,” Murphy said. “It all comes down to a basic issue of fairness and equitable treatment for all commuters, and I hope that the MTA takes such a course as it implements congestion pricing.”

This isn’t the first time Murphy and Cuomo have butted heads.

Murphy declined to endorse his New York counterpart in his primary against actress Cynthia Nixon last year. The two have feuded over appointments at the Port Authority, and the two states are racing to legalize marijuana, though progress on that front appears to be slow on both sides of the Hudson.

It’s possible that their relationship will deteriorate further should the congestion pricing plan hit New Jersey commuters particularly hard, especially given those commuters are likely draw little benefit from the program.

Still, New Jersey’s governor wasn’t ready to call for a retaliatory pricing plan on New York commuters driving into New Jersey like the one floated by Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop, even if he liked Fulop’s moxie.

“First of all, I love the Jersey attitude. I love the fact that he said that,” Murphy said. “I would hope we could find a solution where we’re — I was going to say race to the bottom — I would hope we could find a solution which is somewhere in the common ground, but I love his attitude.”

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