Rep. Josh Gottheimer is taking his battle against additional tolls for New Jersey residents entering New York City to the federal level.
The House Democrat introduced two provisions to fight back against plans New York City’s proposed $23-per-day toll for New Jersey drivers traveling south of 60th Street in Manhattan.
The first provision would prohibit New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) from using federal dollars until vehicles entering the Congestion Tax zone from the Holland Tunnel, the Lincoln Tunnel, or the George Washington Bridge are credited an amount equal to the toll charged.
Fighting Against Rising Costs
The second provision, which featured support from Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), would prohibit federal dollars from being used to implement Congestion Tax programs for any road, bridge, or tunnel until an economic impact analysis was completed and presented to the public.
Gottheimer argued people across the nation were already struggling with higher costs, and New Jersey residents weren’t immune to the impacts of the inflationary environment.
Anti-Congestion Tax Act
“We need to defund New York’s regressive and ridiculous Congestion Tax until New Jersey drivers entering New York are exempt from the tax or credited back the toll they’re charged. We also need a full review of New York’s proposed Congestion Tax, so that Jersey families can see how this regressive and ridiculous tax will impact them,” he said.
Gottheimer said this additional $5,000 per year charge would stack on top of the $4,000-a-year tolls for the three Hudson River crossings, and the more than $10,000 per year needed for gas and parking in the city.
Gottheimer had previously introduced the Anti-Congestion Tax Act to fight back against the tax.
Bill Targets MTA
First, it would explicitly prohibit new Capital Investment Grants to MTA projects until New Jersey drivers heading into New York City were protected from the new Congestion Tax.
Second, the law would amend the Internal Revenue Code to offer a federal tax credit to drivers at the end of the year equal to the amount paid in Congestion Taxes entering Manhattan from any of the three New Jersey crossing, which would protect drivers from double taxation.
Gottheimer launched a “Stay in Jersey” campaign earlier this year, urging all residents of New Jersey who used to commute to New York City every day prior to the pandemic to stay home and keep working from Jersey to avoid the tax, the cost of parking and gas, and expensive tolls.
“Most of these folks are daily commuters into New York City. If you’re in Franklin Lakes, or Newton, or Knowlton, or West Milford, your options are limited—too few regular bus lines, if any, and too many failing trains. People have no other choice but to hop in their car for the commute. Why would we punish them?” asked the congressman in August 2021.
Perhaps, instead of fighting against congestion charges, Rep. Gottheimer would be better off trying to help create good jobs in NJ, so that commuters could avoid having to drive into the City altogether. Congestion pricing is good for the environment, because it discourages driving into already overcrowded Manhattan areas, and should also reward and encourage public transport commutes, for those who must continue to go into Midtown to work. Many (though, certainly not all) of those who drive into NYC are wealthier and choose to drive because it’s more convenient for them to do so, and they can avoid communing with fellow straphangers. How about they give up this privilege and take the train like other less affluent commuters?
I strongly support Rep. Gottheimer’s campaign in general, but specifically because I need to drive into lower Manhattan frequently for medical reasons and where I go precludes taking public transportation. $16 tolls, even with the EZ Pass discount, are already onerous. Go for it, Rep.G!
@Countrypaul, Not sure if the congestion charge applies to “lower” Manhattan, depending on where exactly you go, but if it does, there should be exemptions made for medical or disabled person drives into the congestion charge zone. Other than that, I completely support the congeestion charge. Surely, an ez pass one time or regular exemption flag (or whatever means for charging they utilize) in your account could be possible.
JOSH; NYC is showing that it’s not very friendly towards commuter’s & Trucking!! Apparently there’s a New Sheriff in town like that once Boss Tweed Ring in control & having such powers to impose these ridiculous burdens on the working People.. AND; There ain’t No 0ne, not even a Court condemning this act as being Illegal..//