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Bipartisan effort launched by New York, New Jersey lawmakers to defeat congestion pricing



NEW YORK — There’s a new push by some congressional members in our region to derail congestion pricing. They’re asking the feds for help.

What’s key here is lawmakers from from both states are working together to put the brakes on the controversial plan, and it’s a bipartisan effort to get the federal assistance.

They’ve launched a three-pronged attack on the proposal.

And in addition to asking the federal Department of Transportation to review the project, the congressional members are asking the public to get involved, too, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday.

READ MOREMTA report details plan for congestion pricing and how much drivers will have to pay  

It’s very unusual these days for Democrats and Republicans to work together on anything, especially in Washington, but congestion pricing is apparently an issue that, in some cases, transcends party politics. In some cases because in the New York governor’s race, it has a created a divide as wide and deep as the Hudson River.


Call it a prop with a purpose.

“We brought this piggy bank as a gift to the MTA. We’re going to give it to them and as long as we’re around we’re going to make sure this is the only dollar the MTA gets through the congestion tax,” New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer said.

READ MOREHow will congestion pricing impact trucks? MTA chair says review board will consider incentives for overnight deliveries  

Gottheimer and Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis are taking their fight to stop congestion pricing to the feds in a three-pronged approach to stop the project.

“We are here in bipartisan opposition to this congestion pricing scheme, which is nothing more than the latest cash grab of the MTA, nothing more than the latest war on cars by the city and the state,” Malliotakis said.

The pair, who are both up for re-election this November, want the feds to:

  • Audit how the the MTA spends federal subsidies, especially the $15 billion in COVID funds
  • Force the agency to give credits for people who pay tolls on tunnels and bridges to get into the city
  • Do full-scale economic and environmental impact studies before the project can move ahead

They are especially concerned about congestion and air pollution caused by cars and trucks, arguing that the governor’s insistence it will ease both may be inaccurate.

“Environmentally, as it show in cities like London that the congestion is just going to be shifted,” Malliotakis said.


READ MORESome Nassau County lawmakers call congestion pricing plan an attack on the suburbs    

Congestion pricing is also a big issue in the New York gubernatorial campaign. Republican Lee Zeldin is taking the side of suburban and outer borough commuters who are angry they may face a $23 tab to get into the city and is also expressing environmental concerns.

“You will see additional truck traffic on the Staten Island Expressway, on the Cross Bronx Expressway. You’ll see traffic dump on these smaller side streets as people try to navigate into other areas of the city where they can avoid the fee,” Zeldin said.

READ MOREManhattan residents worry congestion pricing will lead to commuters snatching up free parking spaces  

Gov. Kathy Hochul defended congestion pricing after she tried to show angry Long Island commuters some love by riding a train on a newly opened section of the LIRR Third Track.

“We’re not going backwards. I’ve said this before. We are the first generation to have to deal with the real effects of climate change. We’re the last generation that can really do something about it,” Hochul said.

All the politicians, including Mayor Eric Adams, are urging commuters to share their feedback at one of the MTA’s public meetings that start next week. Malliotakis told Kramer that if the NTA did adequate economic and environmental impact studies, it could postpone congestion pricing for two years.


Source: CBS


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