Murphy Wants to Protect NJ Drivers from NYC’s Extra Tolls
Gov. Phil Murphy said that he and New York Gob. Andrew Cuomo have a "conceptual understanding" about how New Jersey commuters would be affected by congestion pricing in Manhattan and would work to protect them from double tolls.
The New York state legislature approved the plan to charge a fee for those using a car in parts of Manhattan but many of the details have yet to be worked out. New Jersey lawmakers and Murphy view it as a second toll.
Murphy told Bergen County officials on Wednesday that New Jersey commuters who use the Hudson River crossings will get a break from New York's congestion pricing, a comment that was disputed by the MTA, which is setting many of the plan's policies. MTA officials said that nothing has been agreed upon.
“With all due respect to Governor Murphy, we have no idea what he is talking about," MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foy said in a statement. "No agreement has been reached with New Jersey or anyone else on credits, exemptions or carveouts because the MTA will determine the Central Business District tolls and other terms once the Traffic Mobility Review Board has made its recommendations and traffic and congestion analyses are completed."
During a news conference on Thursday, Murphy walked back his confidence.
"There is a lot of distance to travel over the next several years — mostly on the New York side, frankly — to get this into the place they need to get it to," he said. "It's a very complicated project."
Murphy said one of his concerns is to make sure the George Washington Bridge is excluded because it is north of where zone pricing will be in effect in Manhattan. Another concern is how many people will switch from driving to the public transportation.
Electronic tolling will need to be in place by the time congestion pricing goes into effect in two years.
Murphy said he wants to make sure New Jersey has a "seat at the table" for all planning for the implementation of congestion pricing.
"We will stand strong and make sure New Jersey commuters are protected period full stop and not asked to pay twice and be discriminated against."
Democratic U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Bill Pascrell and Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Smith co-sponsored legislation that would bar New York from getting some federal transportation grants if it doesn't exempt New Jersey motorists from the fee.
Pascrell said they also sent a letter to Cuomo urging him to consider sharing some of the revenue for transit needs in New Jersey.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.