NEW JERSEY - With federal approval granted for New York City’s congestion, pricing plan, New Jersey lawmakers railed against the decision by the feds on Tuesday, saying congestion pricing will increase air pollution in New Jersey while putting the blame squarely on the MTA.
"You see in all of their literature, it's about New York residents. It's not about New Jersey residents. Not about Connecticut residents." Says Rep. Robert Menendez, "It's about Manhattan. It's about residents in the central business district."
Supporters of congestion pricing agree that it is about the city. Particularly the section of Manhattan south of 60th Street that gets strangled by what transportation experts have dubbed "Carmageddon."
Those experts have long agreed with the MTA that congestion pricing will reduce traffic, make it easier for business deliveries and emergency vehicles, and cut down pollution while funding mass transit improvements.
But two New Jersey congressmen say it will create pollution in the surrounding areas, for which the MTA has set aside funding to address.
"The negative impact on families will be so bad that the MTA is prepared to spend... 130 million dollars from tolling to try to mitigate the effects of the pollutants in the Bronx and parts of the outer borough." Says Rep. Josh Gottheimer, "How much for New Jersey? Not a nickel for New Jersey."
With federal approval granted, congestion pricing could go into effect by Spring of 2024.
The MTA is now weighing how much to charge. Under one plan rush-hour entry will cost $23 and $17 will be charged during off-peak hours.
Responding to criticism from the New Jersey lawmakers, transportation experts including Felicia Park-Rogers of Tri-State Transportation Campaign tell Fox 5 New York that the Garden State itself can also look for ways to reduce its reliance on car culture.