FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Two New Jersey congressmen say New York’s plan for congestion pricing is unfair.
They’re proposing legislation to keep New Jersey drivers from having to pay twice to enter Manhattan.
“New York and New Jersey has always had a very cooperative relationship, right?” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer. He was referring to transportation from bridges and tunnels and area airports, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported.
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Gottheimer feels that New York is taking a different approach when it comes to congestion pricing.
“Suddenly, taking a two-by-four to New Jersey with this congestion tax, it makes no sense to me,” he said.
Details are still unclear. One thing that is clear?
“In New Jersey, people are really fired up about this because suddenly you’re saying to them, ‘You know how you’re paying $15 a day to go across the George Washington Bridge? Well you just got whacked again,’ and they’re going to try and charge you $12 more dollars a day, and every single nickel is going to to in New York’s pocket, nothing’s going to benefit New Jersey,” Gottheimer said.
Web Extra: How Will Congestion Pricing Work?
“I pay $15, so why do I have to pay another $10 or $11?” said cab driver Steve Lazaridis.
“I think it’s excessive. I really think it’s excessive,” said Fort Lee resident Barbara Friedman. “I kind of get both sides. I’d love to hear another solution.”
Gottheimer and Rep. Chris Smith announced proposed legislation to put pressure on New York.
“This legislation, which I’m calling the ‘Manhattan moocher preservation act’ or the ‘anti-congestion tax act’ does two things,” Gottheimer said.
One of those things is essentially cutting federal grants to MTA projects in New York. The other is to offer a tax credit back to those who entered Manhattan from any of the three New Jersey crossings.
That is, they say, unless those drivers are exempt from congestion fees.
“Whenever you see us, you know there is trouble ahead. That’s what we’re going to be talking about today,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell. “We’re used to getting the short end of the stick in New Jersey… congestion pricing is a raw deal for New Jersey commuters as it stands today.”
The Congressmen sent a letter to Cuomo saying the area needs to be considered as a whole. They’re hoping if and when congestion pricing takes effect, NJ TRANSIT and the Port Authority will be considered and reap some benefit, DeAngelis reported.
“We look forward to working with the Congressman and other partners in New Jersey to ensure that our commuters are heard as part of this process,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.
Cuomo said Tuesday there’s still a possibility that George Washington Bridge drivers may get a discount on congestion pricing, and the details still need to be worked out. The Port Authority needs to implement electronic tolling, Cuomo said, adding that New Jersey drivers are finding themselves in the same boat as drivers from Queens, Brooklyn and more.