NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio is pressuring the MTA to implement congestion pricing that would charge drivers entering Manhattan below 60th Street. The mayor says there'd be no more gridlock and that fewer cars on the roads mean fewer gas emissions, helping the environment.
At his briefing Tuesday, de Blasio held up a fake $15 billion check, which he said represents the total amount congestion pricing would invest into the city's mass transit.
"If we want to fix the horrible flooding that we saw last week, if we want to make sure the signals are fixed so the trains actually can move, if you want modern stations, here it is, staring us in the face," de Blasio said.
New Jersey lawmakers say they can't support Garden State residents paying even more than they do now to commute.
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"They pay a city tax, they pay tolls already, they buy their lunch there," Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, said. "Their businesses are receiving the benefit, come on."
Regional Plan Association's Brian Fritsch agrees that the MTA must get this done to better the streets of New York and he's sure the MTA will get it done soon.
"Even when they go through this environmental review process to get the program implemented, so I think it's very possible we'll see it by the end of next year."
The MTA said in a statement that it has to follow a federally required process.
"The MTA is following that detailed process which doesn't allow arbitrarily cutting corners. An environmental assessment is complicated and we are working through issues with the Federal Highway Administration and our partners at the New York City and New York State Departments of Transportation," the MTA said in the statement. "As we have said repeatedly, the Central Business District Tolling Program will be a huge environmental benefit for the region while also providing a major boost to mass transit, and we're working diligently to implement it as soon as possible."