NY: MTA says congestion pricing opposition doesn’t add up

Jan. 11, 2024
A New Jersey congressman’s anti-congestion pricing report says the MTA will generate $3.4 billion a year from the congestion tax, well above the $1 billion objective set by New York state legislators. However, MTA says those numbers ignore discounts and exemptions the MTA plans to offer and disregards taxi and for-hire vehicle pricing that caps what riders pay.

A New Jersey congressman’s anti-congestion pricing report has a slick cover and the logo of the U.S. House — but Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s math isn’t mathing, says an MTA executive.

Gottheimer, a Democrat from car-dependent Bergen County, says New Jersey residents should be completely exempt from New York’s congestion pricing plan, which would toll all vehicles traveling in Manhattan from 60th St. to the Battery.

Gottheimer says New York doesn’t need New Jersey money to reap its legally-mandated target of $1 billion, which would be applied to the MTA’s capital budget.

Gottheimer’s report says the MTA will generate $3.4 billion a year from the congestion tax, well above the $1 billion objective set by New York state legislators.

Thus, Gottheimer argues, the MTA could exempt all New Jersey crossings from the tax — including those of his constituents — and still raise its target $1 billion.

“There is no reason New Jersey drivers can’t be exempt from the congestion tax,” Gottheimer said at a news conference Thursday on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge. “Instead of making Jersey pay for the MTA’s woeful mismanagement, New Yorkers can pay for New York’s MTA problem.”

But the MTA’s external relations chief, John McCarthy, said Gottheimer’s numbers don’t add up.

McCarthy said Gottheimer’s report ignores discounts and exemptions the MTA plans to offer, and assumes vehicles will be charged multiple times when they enter and re-enter the congestion zone during a 24-hour period when in fact the MTA says they’d only be charged “no more than once a day.”

The congressman’s numbers also disregard taxi and for-hire vehicle pricing that caps what riders pay, McCarthy said.

“Gridlock Gottheimer’s math is a joke,” McCarthy said.

“The bottom line is math is the math, and congestion pricing is projected to deliver just under $1 billion per year to investments in mass transit infrastructure. It’s scary for Americans that this congestion-loving politician—who serves on the Financial Services committee in the United States Congress—clearly can’t count.”

The plan is getting attacked on both sides of the Hudson River. The United Federation of Teachers, which represents city school teachers, and Staten Island President Vito Fossella are suing to stop the plan, saying it punishes city workers who commute to Manhattan.

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