Lawmakers Join Forces in Bipartisan Effort Against Congestion Pricing in NYC

January 19, 2023

NBC New York

By Tracie Strahan

The MTA has long argued that congestion pricing is essential to their bottom line and would to their bottom line and would net them $1 billion annually

A big-time bipartisan pushback is taking place against congestion pricing in Manhattan.

Lawmakers on both sides of the Hudson River that say they are going to introduce legislation that prohibits drivers from paying more to get into town.

An anti-congestion tax being introduced Thursday by U.S. representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Mike Lawler (R-NY) would prohibit the U.S. Department of Transportation from awarding any new capital investment grants to MTA projects in New York City until drivers from all New Jersey and the outer boroughs crossings into Manhattan would get exemptions from any congestion tax.

At the same time, it would also change the U.S. Tax Code to offer commuters a federal tax credit at the end of the year that would be equal to the amount they paid in congestion tax.

The MTA’s congestion pricing plan has been discussed for more than a decade now. It’s the plan that would charge drivers, especially from New Jersey, $23 to enter Manhattan below 60th Street. The pricing plan has yet to be implemented.

The MTA has long argued that congestion pricing is essential to their bottom line and would net them $1 billion annually.

Chief of External Relations for the MTA John McCarthy said in part: “Surely from his time in Albany, Congressman Lawler is aware that congestion pricing is established New York State law. Anyone serious about the environment and reducing gridlock understands that congestion pricing is good for the environment, good for getting fire trucks, buses, and delivery vehicles through the city, and good for the 90% of people who depend on mass people who depend on mass transit.”

The anti-congestion tax announcement is already getting pushback not only from the MTA, but New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who said that congestion pricing is still on its way to taking place. She said it will protect the environment and fund the MTA — even as elected leaders threaten to freeze those funds.

“We’re not deterred by the sideshows may be happening elsewhere,” Hochul said.