With cars whizzing by only a few feet away, Congressmen Rob Mendendez and Josh Gottheimer stood next to the entrance of the Holland Tunnel this morning to decry a plan that would impose a new fee on drivers entering Manhattan.
Called “congestion pricing,” the plan to hit motorists entering Manhattan below 60th Street with an additional toll, got a lift last week when it was approved by the federal Department of Transportation. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority would administer the program and use the money collected to fund transportation projects in New York.
And there’s the rub for New Jersey officials. Governor Phil Murphy has said that he supports the idea “conceptually” but has also termed it a “money grab” with none of the funds going to improve transportation options in New Jersey. The new toll could range between $5 to $23 per car depending upon the time of day.
Officials also point to potentially negative environmental impacts of the plan.
“New York’s congestion pricing plan stands to push traffic and pollution to our communities while also shifting revenue from the Port Authority to the MTA,” said Menendez.
Citing a 900-page environmental assessment prepared by the MTA, Gottheimer charged “The negative environmental impacts on families will be so bad that the MTA is prepared to spend $130 million from tolling to try and mitigate them in the Bronx and parts of the outer boroughs — but not a nickel in New Jersey.”
Gottheimer said he was sponsoring two pieces of legislation in response. “The Anti-Congestion Tax Act” would freeze federal dollars sent to the MTA, totaling approximately $2 billion each year. The second would demand “a full audit of the MTA to figure out what they did with the $15 billion they received from the federal government during the pandemic.”