STATEN ISLAND - There’s another hurdle for the city’s congestion pricing plan, just a few days after New Jersey filed a suit on Friday.
Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella made it official Sunday at South Beach that they will fight the congestion pricing plan by taking MTA to court, a move New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy made last week.
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"New Jersey has its approach, we’re going to come up with our own approach," Fossella said. "And we have to give it our best shot."
Traffic stands near the Lincoln Tunnel in this aerial photograph above Weehawken, New Jersey. Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Staten Island is attacking the environmental impact of the plan, which states the borough’s air quality will worsen because more cars and trucks will be diverted to just outside the tolling zone, impacting New Jersey and the outer boroughs.
"The MTA in New York City has admitted it this is a financial fix more than it is an environmental fix," said Gov. Murphy on Face the Nation Sunday.
Staten Island residents are especially ticked off by the toll.
The borough doesn't have a rail system, and many say they have no choice but to take their car to Manhattan.
The price of the toll has yet to be determined acre range anywhere from nine to $23. At $23 per driver, five days a week, for 50 weeks that comes to $5,750 a year.
Traffic moves into the Lincoln Tunnel in Union City, New Jersey. (Photo by Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images)
"That’s a car payment" Fossella said. "That’s a vacation for family."
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The MTA and transportation experts both say congestion pricing will:
- Reduce congestion and pollution
- Free up streets for emergency vehicles and mass transit
- Fund critical mass transit infrastructure projects like the completion of the second Avenue subway
And some Staten Island residents argue, finding a route on public transportation to the city isn’t hard.
"I take a bus from my house to the park-and-ride and I work right downtown," said one resident. "My commute is under an hour."
The lawsuits targeting the plan's environmental impact, may have a real chance in federal court, which means even if the scanners are up, with a plan expected to go into effect this spring, congestion pricing might not be a done deal.
"I’m just glad Staten Island is teaming up with Jersey, because they’re out of control in New York," a resident stated.