Congressman: NYC will make billions in cash grab from NJ drivers
💰 NY to make $3.4B with congestion tax, in a year
🚘 NJ drivers should be exempt, congressman says
💸 New report looks at ‘hidden fees’ in MTA plan
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS — New York City stands to rake in over $3 billion dollars a year with its congestion pricing as planned, according to a new congressional report.
Based on such revenue, it should be no problem for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to exempt New Jersey drivers bound for midtown and lower Manhattan, U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer said.
The Democratic congressman from Wyckoff said the report shows “the extent of the MTA and New York’s cash grab.”
Gottheimer and state Assemblywoman Shama Haider, D-Bergen, both spoke from a park in Englewood Cliffs late Thursday morning.
The Traffic Mobility Review Board, the New York state body advising the MTA on congestion pricing, approved a plan in December, which remains in a public comment period into March.
Analysis shows ‘hidden fees’ in congestion tax
Repeatedly calling it a tax, Gottheimer said as it has been proposed by the MTA, the congestion pricing would cost New Jersey and New York drivers up to $24.75 a day, just to drive south of 60th Street — on top of $17 tolls for bridges and tunnels, plus the costs of gas and parking.
Part of the plan allows for the MTA to declare any single day a “Gridlock Alert Day,” during which the amount due would be increased by up to 25% more in “Surge Pricing,” the congressman continued.
The MTA also has granted itself authority to raise Congestion Pricing by 10% this year, alone.
Then, there’s the uneven approach for bridge users.
Not only would the congestion tax push trucks to the George Washington Bridge, Gottheimer said, but the price difference would also force more cars to back up at the tunnels — where drivers stand to pay $5 less.
Congestion tax aims to rake in billions
Based on the MTA’s projections, the authority stands to make $3.4 billion in a year from Congestion Pricing — more than triple the $1 billion objective required by the New York state Legislature.
That calculation used the bottom end of the MTA’s potential pricing — without surge pricing and toll increases, including credits, assuming all trucks are priced as small size and all vehicles will use EZ-Pass, Gottheimer said.
He said it also used the MTA’s assumption of a 17% decrease in traffic entering the area below 60th Street.
Being so flush with cash, the MTA could then easily exempt all New Jersey crossings from the Congestion Pricing fees and still raise its target $1 billion.
Through current tolls to cross the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the GWB as well as Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing, New York made $1.8 billion in 2022 from New Jersey-to-New York crossings.
Gottheimer said he has requested a meeting with MTA Chairman Janno Lieber to discuss the findings of his team’s report.
“In other words, there is no reason New Jersey drivers can’t be exempt from the Congestion Tax. Instead of making Jersey pay for the MTA’s woeful mismanagement, New Yorkers can pay for New York’s MTA problem,” Gottheimer said in his remarks on Thursday.
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