The conflict across the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey took another ugly turn as Republican State Senators raised their objections to the New York City Congestion Tax.
The lawmakers called on New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Transportation Department’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to halt what they see as their taxation assault against New Jersey commuters traveling into Manhattan.
“Manhattan’s new congestion pricing plan is yet another example of New York levying an unjust tax on New Jersey commuters,” said State Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-24). “New York is trying to extract as much money as possible from New Jerseyans.”
Propping up New York
The Biden administration along with the FHWA approved a plan earlier this month to charge commuters an increased fee to enter lower Manhattan in a supposed effort to reduce congestion and improve the city’s air quality. The plan would impose a maximum $23 fee for non-commercial passenger vehicles entering south of 60th Street in Manhattan, and up to $12 during nighttime hours. These funds would help pay for the M.T.A.’s infrastructure upgrades, like building subway platform barriers or more elevators, but offer no benefit to New Jersey like the Port Authority tolls do.
“First, it unfairly taxes former New Jersey commuters working from home since the pandemic. Now, it’s charging them a fee for traveling across the state border,” said Oroho. “This is just another scheme for New York to keep padding its budget at the expense of New Jersey.”
Boosting State Revenues for New York
State Sen Michael Testa (R-1) commented that the plan is one that could have only been conceived by “rich, out of touch, limousine liberals” that will not only impact New Jersey but New York’s outer boroughs.
“Did Democrats not think about the number of trucks that will need to be rerouted around Manhattan? In fact, researchers have consistently shown that this ill-conceived plan will actually increase traffic and pollution in the Bronx,” Testa said.
“In the end, we know this plan has very little to do with the environment and everything to do with boosting state revenue for New York. New Jerseyans, and New Yorkers, deserve better.”
New Jersey Counter
State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) urged lawmakers to pass the Automated Enforcement Inoculation Act as a countermeasure in order to protect New Jersey drivers from predatory fines for out-of-state traffic violations.
O’Scanlon’s bill would prohibit the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and other state entities from disclosing the personal information of New Jersey drivers to help another state impose or collect a fine for alleged violations captured by automated camera ticketing systems.
“New Jersey drivers are under siege from out-of-state politicians who want drive up costs for travelers for the purpose of making a quick buck,” he said. “Through bipartisan efforts we fought and defeated camera enforced violations in New Jersey because we recognized that it was nothing more than government-sanctioned-theft.”
O’Scanlon noted while half of all states have rejected these “corrupt schemes,” New York has decided to implement them and is doubling down with the “absurd” congestion price taxes. By passing the legislation, O’Scanlon offered that Republicans and Democrats would be able to stand together to deter New York State from collecting more money from New Jersey residents,
“New York lawmakers claimed that congestion rates and toll increases were solutions for environmental issues, but it’s all a corrupt scam to take more money out of the pockets of hard-working men and women who travel to and from the state,” stated O’Scanlon. “We need to pass this bill now to shut the door on cities and companies from applying predatory fines and unjust taxes on New Jerseyans when they are out of state.”
Oroho, Testa and O’Scanlon are joining a fight that has been led to date by North Jersey Congressional Democrats. Sen. Bob Menendez, along with Rep. Josh Gottheimer and Bill Pascrell, recently unveiled legislation to block New York’s arbitrary decision to mandate a tax hike on its neighbors across the Hudson.
“Stop NJ Congestion Act”
The “Stop NJ Congestion Act” would impose highway sanctions on any state that implements the program described in the final environmental assessment for the Central Business District Tolling Program, or any similar program.
According to the North Jersey senator, the new legislation would in effect cause New York to lose 50% of their National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) and Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBG) funding if they choose to move forward with the congestion tax.
“My bill would require New York to meaningfully engage with, and receive consent from, affected states like New Jersey before any congestion pricing is approved,” said Menendez. “This would guarantee New Jersey a seat at the table for future proposals, something we should have had all along.”
The NYC camera scam is equally bad: phantom school zones with no signage or signs of a school building active almost 24/7, 25 mph speed zones where everyone goes 40 but Jersey plates get targeted. All bad but where were these GOP politicians when Kevin “Daddy Warbux” Brady crafted his “pay for itself” Trump tax cut that added to the debt more than 2 trillion dollars AND punished NJ citizens by capping mortgage deductions at an unrealistically low rate to purposely target Blue states? They remained silent or supported the punishment…. So there’s that…