New Jersey takes congestion pricing fight to federal court

Oral arguments began Wednesday in New Jersey's lawsuit to try and stop congestion pricing in New York City.

Lawyers for New Jersey say the Federal Highway Administration did not do a thorough impact study on the full environmental effects of congestion pricing when it gave the MTA the green light. 

Randy Mastro, attorney for New Jersey says "Federal law requires that there be mitigation measures specified before a federal agency approves a project of this magnitude."

The MTA disputes that it submitted a complete environmental assessment for its plan to charge drivers $15 to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street and accuses New Jersey of trying to delay the rollout of congestion pricing.

RELATED: MTA board approves historic congestion pricing plan

"We believe that we win on the arguments, that when a judge looks at the law and the facts, and does the kind of hard research this judge has done, I'm convinced that we will win," said MTA attorney Roberta Kaplan.

The impact northern NJ communities will get from drivers trying to avoid the congestion pricing toll is the crux of this lawsuit, one of at least 4 in opposition to congestion pricing.

A negative ruling on the thoroughness of the environmental assessment could derail the MTA's plan to reduce midtown traffic, improve air quality, and generate $1B in revenue for the MTA.

The agency says some of that revenue will go to the Garden State, which New Jersey says isn't exactly true.

"It's not zero, it's a portion of the money for mitigation that will be determined as appropriate  based upon what communities need what amount of money," Kaplan said.

Mastro, however, disputes that saying "When one actually reads the final decision in this case, there's not a single committed dollar to NJ and lots of committed dollars to NY."

The case will be decided solely by the presiding judge and is expected to last two days.