Congressman Josh Gottheimer Introduces Anti-Congestion Tax Act To Fight New YorkBy Dave Carlin

LODI, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some New Jersey lawmakers are pushing back at New York City’s congestion pricing plan.

They say Garden State commuters are already paying enough in tolls before they get to the city.

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Bella Vara says it can take more than 90 minutes to travel just seven miles from her New Jersey home to her job as a design account executive in Manhattan.

“It’s already ridiculous,” she said.

It’s a trek made more frustrating by the tolls she already pays and the ones that would be added by New York’s congestion pricing plan.

“I’m really not up for paying those kinds of prices,” Vara said.

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“They’ll get whacked not only with a $16-a-day toll that they pay now, but now a new ridiculous additional $15-a-day congestion tax when they drive south of 60th Street,” Congressman Josh Gottheimer, of New Jersey, said.

Gottheimer on Wednesday announced bipartisan federal legislation called the Anti-Congestion Tax Act to fight New York.

“What else you need from Jersey? You want us to shine your shoes?” he said.

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“Like $31, that’s just pretty ridiculous, to be honest,” Saddlebrook resident Lirim Ramadani said.

The legislation Gottheimer’s pushing would block the Secretary of Transportation from awarding new capital investment grants for MTA projects in New York if congestion pricing goes through and does not exempt the New Jersey crossings.

It also establishes a federal tax credit for New Jersey drivers.

“This is an attempt by New York to once again mooch off of Jersey and force our hard-working families to pay double taxes while none of the tax revenue even goes to Jersey at all or helps our own mass transit system, which, of course, needs the help,” Gottheimer said.

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CBS2’s Dave Carlin spoke to the mayor of Lodi, which is located about 15 miles from Midtown, Manhattan, and asked how congestion pricing would impact residents.

“If they got to pay $31 and more, back and forth, plus gas, I mean, it’s insane,” Mayor Scott Luna said.

Some Garden State lawmakers warn New York, two states can do this.

“Captured from E-ZPass and if you’re an out-of-state driver, non-New Jersey driver, you’re going to pay an extra fee for coming into New Jersey,” Sen. Joe Lagana said.

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If implemented, New York City would be the first U.S. city to use congestion pricing, joining cities around the world including London, Singapore and Stockholm.

Dave Carlin