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Sen. Menendez, Reps. Pascrell and Gottheimer introduce bipartisan, bicameral legislation to halt New York’s congestion pricing tax on New Jersey commuters, businesses

The STOP NJ CONGESTION Act would impose federal highway sanctions on New York if they move forward with the congestion pricing proposal as outlined in the final Environmental Assessment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Representatives Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.-09) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.-05) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation today to address New York’s flawed Congestion Pricing tax that would unfairly impact New Jersey commuters and businesses.

“What this legislation would do is disincentivize New York from moving forward with their congestion pricing proposal and ensure that New Jersey has a seat at the table on any congestion pricing system that would impact the state,” said Sen. Menendez. “At the end of the day, we are not New York’s piggy bank. This is all about a money grab for the MTA and does not consider the adverse consequences to New Jersey. This is not a one-way street.”

“I’ve said it before and I will say it one more time: New Jerseyans are used to paying our fair share but New York’s congestion pricing scheme is fatally flawed and unnecessarily unfair,” said Congressman Pascrell. “USDOT should have required New York to complete a full Environmental Impact Statement. New York’s plan would saddle Jersey commuters with extra taxes on top of our already-high taxes without the needed financial return for our transit systems. Having the rubber stamp of approval by the federal government is wrong and an affront to New Jersey. This plan as conceived should not stand and today members of our New Jersey delegation are fighting back to give fairness to Garden Staters.”

“I’ve been fighting the Congestion Tax for years, and I’m proud to help lead this new bipartisan, bicameral legislation with Senator Menendez to stop New York’s and the MTA’s anti-environment, anti-commuter, $23-a-day Congestion Tax plan,” said Congressman Gottheimer, Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Anti-Congestion Tax Caucus. “MTA Chairman Janno Lieber’s plan was exposed for what he admitted it was: a cash-grab to bail out the terribly mismanaged MTA and a plan that will increase pollutants, particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and carcinogens like formaldehyde in New Jersey. And it will increase truck traffic in Bergen County.”

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, causing New York to lose 50 percent of their National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) and Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBG) funding if they choose to move forward with the proposal. This would directly disincentivize New York from implementing its congestion pricing system.

The bill would also amend the underlying Value Pricing Pilot Program, which New York is using to implement its congestion pricing proposal, to require that a project sponsor meaningfully engage with, and receive consent from, any state that would be reasonably impacted by a proposal under the program. This essentially guarantees New Jersey a seat at the table on, and veto power over, any future congestion pricing proposal.

The legislation is also co-sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, (D-N.J.-12), Tom Kean, Jr. (R-N.J.-07), Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.-02), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.-06), Chris Smith (R-N.J.-04), Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.-11), Rob Menendez, Jr. (D-N.J.-08), and Donald Norcross (D-N.J.-01).

“Whether or not New Yorkers want to admit it, New Jerseyans contribute significantly to their state’s economy. New Jersey deserves an opportunity to have a seat at the table and determine how this plan can benefit our state’s commuters as well,” said Congressman Pallone. “Any congestion pricing plan must be fair to the people who travel regularly to the city.”

“New York’s congestion pricing plan is an unreasonable punishment that will double tax the almost 400,000 New Jersey residents who work in New York City and contribute immensely to the city’s economy,” said Congresswoman Sherrill. “Every day, I am fighting to reduce costs for my constituents. It should not cost $40 just to get to work. New York should not be able to unilaterally make decisions that will impact New Jersey without our input. With this bill, we will change that.”

“New York’s congestion pricing plan was designed without any significant input from New Jersey residents and the end result reflects that lack of consideration and involvement,” said Congressman Rob Menendez. “I stand with my colleagues in New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation in sponsoring the STOP NJ CONGESTION Act to halt this ill-conceived plan that will shift traffic and pollution to our cities and towns. Together, we are working to ensure that our constituents’ health, well-being, and access to modern and efficient mass transit options are prioritized in any discussions moving forward.”

“The New York congestion tax will disproportionally and unfairly impact New Jersey families and our small businesses,” said Congressman Norcross. “I am proud to stand with Sen. Menendez and federal, state, and local leaders to fight back against this plan that would burden the hard-working people of New Jersey.”

In addition to $17 tolls to cross into New York through the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, a $23-a-day congestion fee would impose a $5,000-a-year burden on New Jerseyans who work or do business in Manhattan, as well as an added strain to New Jersey’s transit systems and infrastructure. At a time when the budgets of working-class families and small businesses are already stretched thin, New York is trying to balance their budget by squeezing every dollar from out-of-state-residents.

In addition to the legislation introduced today, the Senator, along with Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) also sent a letter this week to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressing ‘serious concern’ about the impacts New York’s congestion pricing plan will have on New Jersey communities. The letter also urges Secretary Buttigieg to abandon the current Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), and instead pursue a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that includes input from, and equity for, all stakeholders, including those in New Jersey.

On Monday, Sen. Menendez joined with advocates, business leaders, and transportation officials, to announce this legislation and to highlight how this congestion pricing tax will negatively impact New Jersey drivers and small businesses.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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