New Jersey Fights New ‘Congestion Tax,’ Says Won’t Help Pollution

New Jersey has taken legal action against New York City over its daily “congestion toll” of $15 for commuters heading to Manhattan. The lawsuit alleges that the Federal Highway Administration failed to adequately consider the environmental impact and financial burden on New Jersey residents and their transportation system when granting approval for the toll. The complaint claimed that the federal government rushed the approval process without adequately evaluating the potential consequences.

Randy Mastro, the lawyer representing New Jersey, was taken aback by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s claim that the congestion toll would not substantially affect traffic, the economy, or air quality in the surrounding areas. He claimed that the FHWA’s approval was biased and that New Jersey was not adequately considered.

The congestion toll plan for New York City includes a significant $35 million commitment to address the impact on the Bronx. However, it is worth noting that no funding was allocated to New Jersey. Governor Phil Murphy (D) expressed concern that the city’s plan could potentially result in pollution being transferred from Manhattan to the surrounding areas in New Jersey.

Last week, the MTA approved the congestion toll in an 11-1 vote, leading to a lively debate. The proposed plan aims to introduce a daily fee of $15 for most passenger vehicles traveling on 60th Street and below. Additionally, there will be a significant 75% reduction in the costs during the evening hours. Passengers who use taxis and black car services will be subject to an additional fare of $1.25, whereas Uber and Lyft riders will incur an extra charge of $2.50. Most tolls in New York City will be collected through the state’s existing E-ZPass system, resulting in higher charges for drivers without a pass.

The city officials are confident that the plan will result in a significant 17% decrease in traffic and generate an impressive annual revenue of $1 billion. The funds collected from the toll system will be used to improve public transportation. Currently, the city is facing six lawsuits regarding the congestion toll plan.