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Congestion pricing: Kathy Hochul, Eric Adams and the MTA may harm NJ | Opinion –


The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority not too long ago accomplished six public hearings on their proposed $23-a-day — $5,000-a-year — congestion tax that may crush hard-working households and commuters only for driving south of sixtieth Avenue in New York Metropolis. Residents from throughout New Jersey and New York testified, and their sturdy opposition to MTA’s proposed tax couldn’t have been clearer. In accordance with an in depth evaluation of the hearings, 74% of those that testified opposed the MTA’s Congestion Tax on commuters.

Of the almost three-quarters of the general public who opposed:

  • 16.3% opposed it as a result of they’re in opposition to one other tax
  • 11.3% imagine the plan is a money seize for the mismanaged MTA
  • 10.3% imagine it hurts marginalized communities, together with hard-working center class and lower-income households

The general public pushback was overwhelming.

From nurses working the early shift to restaurant staff and Uber drivers working the late shift, most of the residents in New Jersey and throughout the outer boroughs don’t have any different alternative however to drive into New York Metropolis each day to make a dwelling. For many who say, “why not simply take public transit,” the reply is easy: For many individuals in northern New Jersey, there merely aren’t mass transit choices. No buses or transits for a nurse or restaurant employee making an attempt to make the early or late shift. There’s a mass transit dessert all throughout northern New Jersey.

Our view:Congestion pricing? Sure, so long as Jersey drivers aren’t screwed

I be part of an amazing majority of those that testified in saying that I strongly oppose New York’s outrageous Congestion Tax, not solely as a result of it would drain our households’ pocketbooks and harm small companies who’re already struggling, but it surely additionally does nothing to really assist the atmosphere or ease congestion. Actually, for these of us in northern New Jersey close to bridges and tunnels, to these within the outer boroughs, and north of 60th in Manhattan, the Congestion Tax, by the MTA’s personal admission, will result in extra visitors, vehicles, and air pollution and can notably harm lower-income households and youngsters.

George Washington Bridge tolls are cashless and the carpool discount is eliminated as of Sunday, July 10, 2022.

In accordance with the MTA’s examine, kids in Bergen County close to the I-95 George Washington Bridge and within the Bronx will face a rise of air pollution and toxins. The plan can even trigger visitors delays close to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and approaches westbound to the GW Bridge on I-95. It’s going to additionally ship vehicles into Northern New Jersey and the outer boroughs. The MTA even admitted their plan would represent a disproportionately antagonistic impact on low-income drivers.

Now, from the MTA’s perspective, I can see the place they’re coming from. They desperately want the money to fill the entire of years of mismanagement, toll fare skippers, and poor city planning. Regardless of the current surge of federal COVID {dollars}, to the tune of $15 billion, their woeful mismanagement and lax enforcement of fare assortment has led to a $2.5 billion finances deficit.

And what did they do with these billions of taxpayer {dollars}? They appear to have blown it, as in the event that they have been on an all-night bender.

It’s unbelievable how badly run the MTA is. In simply the primary three months of this yr, they misplaced $119 million to fare evasion, heading towards $500 million simply this yr. These are self-inflicted losses that don’t have anything to do with the pandemic.

To not point out, not too way back, a former MTA supervisor pleaded responsible to obstructing an investigation into bid rigging and fraud. This is only one of numerous investigations and points on the MTA. It’s a bureaucratic, mismanaged swamp.

The very last thing {that a} terribly mismanaged authorities authority — that’s confronted indictments for fraud and is riddled with investigations — wants is extra of our cash. It’s time we audited the MTA that retains pouring the {dollars} we’ve despatched them right into a black gap.

Within the eyes of the MTA, who higher to pay the payments than Jersey drivers and people from Staten Island and the outer boroughs. And the quantity is eye-poppingly insane.

Are you able to think about a hard-working nurse, taxi or Uber driver from Jersey having to pay $23 {dollars} a day — or $5,000 a yr — on high of the $16 {dollars} they pay to go over the GW Bridge? Once you add gasoline and parking, that’s $20,000 a yr.

Simply learn MTA spelled backwards and it tells you precisely how the MTA seems at hardworking drivers and households proper now: as their private ATM.

So as to add insult to damage, each nickel of the brand new Congestion Tax imposed on hard-working Jersey households will go to New York. Not a cent will return to the PATH practice or NJ Transit to assist the residents of New Jersey in any approach. We’ve at all times had a cooperative relationship between New York and New Jersey. The Port Authority has shared income from the bridges and tunnels for greater than a century. However not now.

I’m sorry to say to the MTA, New Jersey actually shouldn’t be your piggy financial institution.

And let me be clear. There’s no center floor right here. Regardless of the way you have a look at it, each situation the MTA launched will whack drivers with a brand new tax. That’s why there’s been such an outcry of opposition — from taxies, Uber, Lyft; small companies that can get whacked, and so many hard-working households.

Dad and mom shouldn’t have to decide on between spending cash on their households or paying this absurd tax. Aged and folks with disabilities who don’t have any alternative however to drive due to their well being shouldn’t be compelled to journey on the inaccessible subway. And folks shouldn’t be taxed for driving to obtain lifesaving care at Beth Israel or NYU as a result of they will’t danger being on public transportation. That is nothing greater than a money seize to fund the terribly mismanaged MTA.

I hope New York Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul are listening as a result of our residents, from Gov. Phil Murphy to town’s small enterprise house owners to taxi and Uber drivers and so many others all need the MTA to reverse course on their congestion tax plan.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer applauds as he visits the Senior Citizens Festival in Paramus, NJ on Tuesday September 20, 2022.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer represents New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District and is co-chair of the bipartisan Downside Solvers Caucus.


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