NYC congestion pricing plan is a no-go for most New Jersey drivers, lawmakers

New Jersey drivers are bracing for New York’s congestion pricing plan. It is a $23 fee to drive into Manhattan below 60th Street that Gov. Phil Murphy and others are calling “double taxation.”
But a new congestion pricing analysis released on Wednesday states that New Jersey drivers could get a credit for the Hudson River Crossing tolls they pay to reduce – but not eliminate – the MTA’s congestion toll.
The plan has angered many New Jersey residents who must drive into New York City, as well as some of New Jersey’s lawmakers.
“Ridiculous, regressive congestion tax,” says Rep. Josh Gottheimer. “That’s absurd double taxation at its finest.”
In addition to cleaning up the city's air and hopefully making the streets less congested, groups like Riders Alliance say congestion pricing is aimed at Outer Borough residents who don't pay to drive on the East River and Harlem River bridges.
“Manhattan is a very dense place, it's a very congested place. Every car that can fit into Manhattan is a real thing of value, and this attaches a price to that value,” says Danny Pearlstein, of the Riders Alliance.
But Gov. Murphy says that New Jersey drivers should not have to pay.
“There is no way, no how, that that will happen with a double taxation of New Jersey commuters. Period,” he said at the groundbreaking of the Portal North Bridge.
In Jersey City, in the shadow of the Holland Tunnel entrance, drivers say congestion pricing is another cost they can’t afford. Some say they have no choice but to drive into the city.
“How do you take the train to downtown Manhattan at 2 a.m.? How do you get to Jersey at 2 a.m.? You don't. It's just not possible,” says John Paul Lydon, of Union.
Lydon is a telecom worker who works nights in Manhattan.
“I go in every night,” he says.
Struggling city cab drivers also worry that higher prices for passengers could kill their profession.
“You’ve got too many challenges. You’ve got Lyft. You’ve got Uber. You’ve got Rebel. You’ve got too many competition,” says cabbie Seydou Outtara.
Public comment on the new congestion pricing analysis began on Wednesday and lasts until Sept. 9. Six virtual hearings are scheduled.