JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Congestion pricing could curtail traffic in Midtown, but it’ll create a nightmare in the Garden State.
That’s the concern for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and he’s asking New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reconsider parts of the plan.
The mayor of Jersey City even posed the question: what if New Jersey starts charging New Yorkers to enter the state?
Chopper 2 was over rush hour traffic building at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel on Tuesday afternoon. It usually prevents Hoboken resident Nina Branham from getting a seat on an NJ TRANSIT bus.
“Today I was standing there and three buses passed by like ‘no passengers,'” Branham told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.
And the traffic is poised to get worse in 2021, when New York’s congestion pricing plan takes effect. Sources told CBS2 drivers would pay $11.50 just to travel to Midtown below 60th Street, with revenues only going to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
While details are in the works, Gov. Murphy said commuters traveling to Manhattan via the Lincoln or Holland tunnels won’t pay the congestion fee, which will mean more traffic at those crossings, because those taking the George Washington Bridge will be on the hook for the congestion charge.
“That’s unacceptable. That’s a double taxation which we can’t envision,” Gov. Murphy said.
The New Jersey chapter of the National Motorists Association confirmed that the disparity could very well cause drivers to start taking the very crowded tunnels instead of the GWB and instead clog the already congested Lincoln and Holland tunnels.
“We’re victim to this. I want to bring attention to it and, you know, we are concerned, obviously,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said.
Jersey City is home to the Holland Tunnel. Mayor Fulop said buses and PATH trains out of his city are at capacity.
“Any solution needs to be one that funds the MTA, PATH and NJ TRANSIT,” Fulop said. “If New Jersey was to say the same thing and say, ‘OK, we’re going to tax New York residents leaving New York into New Jersey,’ … what benefit is that ultimately?”
“It shouldn’t be fair for one side to have to pay more than the other, considering they’re kind of like brother and sister. They need each other,” PATH passenger Mustapha Raiim said.
“If you want people to use mass transit then you should spread the wealth around,” PATH passenger Marty Rogan said.
On Friday, Gov. Murphy wrote a letter to Gov. Cuomo asking that all Hudson River crossings be exempt. Cuomo has yet to reply.
CBS2 reached out to the Port Authority, which runs the PATH system and NJ TRANSIT, but both agencies declined comment.