Transportation Policy

New Jersey Congressmen Want To Exempt New Jersey Drivers From New York's Congestion Tolls

The bill would strip New York of federal transit funding if Manhattan-bound Garden State motorists aren't spared from new tolls.

|

It can be tough to grasp the idea that a driver isn't just in traffic; he is traffic. As a result, a lot of people think policies to reduce traffic congestion should apply to someone else over there.

Witness a bipartisan bill from two New Jersey congressmen, Democrat Josh Gottheimer and Republican Jeff Van Drew. It would strip New York City's public transit system of federal funding if Garden State drivers aren't exempt from the congestion charges that might soon be applied to motorists entering Manhattan.

"The proposed $3,000 a year congestion tax is such a slap in the face to New Jersey commuters," said Gottheimer in a press release announcing the reintroduction of the Anti-Congestion Tax Act. "We're fighting back against the proposed New York congestion taxes that are targeting hardworking Jersey families for simply driving into Manhattan."

The "congestion tax" being targeted is a variable fee that New York will soon charge motorists who enter Manhattan below 60th Street. The idea is to reduce traffic congestion by encouraging carpooling, transit use, or travel at off-peak hours.

How much these charges will be, how they might vary throughout the day, and who exactly will have to pay them are decisions that will be made by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)—the state agency that runs buses and trains in the New York City area.

The MTA will also receive these congestion tolls. The money will then go toward capital improvements for mass transit in New York City and on MTA-run commuter rail lines running out to Long Island and Connecticut.

Such congestion pricing (or cordon pricing) schemes are already in place in a number of cities, including London, Singapore, and Stockholm, where they've proven successful at reducing traffic congestion in the city center. New York would be the first city in the U.S. to implement the policy.

The idea has support from transportation experts of all ideological stripes. Left-wing transit advocates like its potential to encourage transit ridership. Free market wonks like the idea of pricing roads to speed up commute times.

This bill has something for both groups to hate.

Transit advocates have obvious reasons to oppose its provision forbidding grants from the feds' Capital Investment Program to the MTA unless drivers entering Manhattan from New Jersey are exempt from tolls. That would take billions away from the MTA-sponsored projects, either by cutting off federal funds or by forcing them to forgo the revenue they would have gotten from New Jersey motorists.

Folks who support congestion pricing but are less hot on federal transit funding will dislike a provision giving commuters a tax credit to cover whatever congestion tolls they pay entering Manhattan from New Jersey. That would eliminate their incentive to, you know, reduce congestion.

Gottheimer first introduced this bill in 2019, the same year the New York legislature created its congestion pricing program. Around the same time, everyone from truckers to police to representatives of New York's outer boroughs started pushing for their own targeted exemptions. It'll be a while before we know the precise details of who will actually receive those exemptions.

New York's program was supposed to be up and running by January 2021. The need to conduct a federally mandated environmental review of the program, and the political wrangling that came with that, ensured that deadline was missed. The hope now is to have a toll system up and running by 2022.

If it's successful at reducing traffic and speeding up travel times, New York City's congestion pricing scheme could be a model for other gridlocked American cities to emulate. Exempting all New Jersey commuters would ensure it becomes a cautionary tale of what not to do.

NEXT: A Federal Cop Devised a Bogus Sex Trafficking Ring and Jailed This Teen for 2 Years. The Cop Can't Be Sued.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Trump cultist and nutcase Mike Lindell says he was attacked by Antifa and his election “evidence” was stolen last night.

    https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2021/08/12/mike-lindell-attacked-sioux-falls-police-report-cyber-symposium/8108425002/

    1. On topic, as always.

      1. I made over $700 per day using my mobile in part time. I recently got my 5th paycheck of $19632 and all i was doing is to copy and paste work online.FCd this home work makes me able to generate more cash daily easily. simple to do work and regular income from this are just superb. Here what i am doing.

        Try now………………. VISIT HERE

        1. I made over $700 per day using my mobile in part time. I recently got my 5th paycheck of $19632 and all i was doing is to copy and paste work online. this home work makes HfredsJk me able to generate more cash daily easily. simple to do work and regular income from this are just superb. Here what i am doing.

          Try now………………. VISIT HERE

          1. If you were looking for a way to earn some extra income every week… Look no more!!!! Here is a great opportunity for everyone to make $95/per hour by working in your free time on your computer from home… I’ve been doing this for 6 months now and last month i’ve earned my first five-figure paycheck ever!!!! Learn more about it on following link………………….. READ MORE

    2. Mike seems like the type of guy that has a humiliation fetish.

      1. Start making money this time… Spend more time with your family & relatives by doing jobs that only require you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home.HMd Start bringing up to $65,000 to $70,000 a month. I’ve started this job and earn a handsome income and now I am exchanging it with you, so you can do it too.

        You can check it out here………..VISIT HERE

    3. Making extra salary every month from home more than $15k just by doing simple copy and paste like online job. I have received $18635 from this easy home job and now I am a good online earner like others.XZc This job is super easy and its earnings are great. Everybody can now makes extra cash online easily by

      just follow the given website……… VISIT HERE

  2. >>The idea is to reduce traffic congestion by encouraging carpooling, transit use, or travel at off-peak hours.

    the idea is to get paid in a back room by Elites who don’t want to carpool, use transit, or travel in off-peak hours

    1. Hey look- a mooch.

      1. Hey look – shitlunches.

  3. You pay the tolls for where you go. Use a bridge with a toll? Pay the toll. Use a turnpike with a toll? Pay the toll.

    Jeepers H Cripes, we’re talking New Jersey here! I went to New Jersey and had to pay their stupid tolls. Tolls to EXIT the stupid turnpike, not to get on it. To EXIT!

    You expect New Yawkers to pay New Jersey tolls, then expect New Joiysans to pay New York tolls. I mean, duh!

    1. There should definitely be a higher toll for leaving New Jersey.

    2. To point out the obvious, the amount you pay when you get off the Turnpike depends on how far you’ve driven, same as on the NY Thruway and the PA Turnpike. As far as I can tell, nobody who lives in NY or NJ or PA finds this confusing.
      To return to the topic, I doubt either of the two congressmen expect this to pass, it’s just cheap pandering to their very very special constituents.

  4. Ohhh where to go with this…
    Can NY add an ammendment that new Yorkers can pump their own gas if they are in nj?
    I bet NJ would be fine if the toll got split between jersey and ny

  5. Last I looked, user fees targeted at users and revenues generated to pay only the cost of that use is libertarianism 101. Trouble is, much of the user fees are usually disbursed to all sorts of non-users, leeches, and grifters.

  6. Ostensibly, you are punishing people for driving into Manhattan, but that can also be construed as punishing people for working in Manhattan.

    Let us see what you get less of.

    1. I’ve noticed in truckers’ classifieds, trucking companies will add “No NYC Routes” to their want-ads for hiring truckers. Presumably, this is a fringe benefit in the trucking industry.

    2. If its anything like Chicago the people who work there are responsible for the peak hour traffic (which I suppose you can argue is punishment enough)

      But also if its anything like Chicago you’ll see companies offering more work-from-home days as a fringe benefit (this was a trend even before Covid)

  7. If there are any exemptions at all, for any reason, it is not about reducing congestion.
    I will be shocked, shocked, to find out it is really about taxes.

  8. Blow up the bridges between NJ and NYC. Problem solved.

    1. Then you’ll get “Snake” Pliskin trying to do an Evel Kineval-style jump with Sleepy, Creepy, Crazy, Cranky,Tankie, Corn-Pop, Lunch-Bucket, Basement-Bunker, Shotgun Joe in the sidecar!

      I wonder who would be “The Duke of New York, A#1” in this scenario?

      1. The dukes of NY would drive a smart car with a soviet flag painted on the top, and their “hot” cousin would be a 500lb dude that identifies as a hot chick

        1. Their “hot” cousin would be Sandra Bernhardt.

          Bleach that vision from your mind.

          1. I guess the days of fawning over Lena Dunham in this comment section are gone with the wind.

            1. chemjeff is a Lena Dunham sock.

          2. Sandra Bernhardt and Lena Dunham would be the main characters, their hot cousin would be Chas Bono, and Hillary would play Boss Hogg. The only biological males would be Roscoe and the other inept cops.

            1. So who would be Cooter? Or would they all be Cooters if they changed their minds and re-identified as women?

        2. Although off of the Escape From New York theme, that was a gut-buster of a good laugh! Well done! 🙂

          1. Getting back on that theme, I thought Rev. Al Sharpton could be “The Duke of New York A#1”, but maybe there are even shadier characters for the role too.

    2. Preet’s palm just started itching, and he doesn’t know why.

    3. That’s OK, we have tunnels, too.

  9. Once paid something like $48 to cross one fucking bridge in fucking NYC. That bridge had been paid for many times over but those public employee pensions don’t fund themselves. It was a small bridge. The other tolls to go about 7 miles made the total like $63.
    Maybe NJ should make moving a business in Manhattan to say the Meadowlands easy enough that it happens. And some NJ residents can commute within NJ as a result.

    1. Why for that kind of money they should have SOLD you the bridge!

  10. This bill is of course pure theater that will probably never be voted on let alone enacted. But it gives Reason another chance to show their love for bigger better taxes.

    1. More like people like you think you shouldn’t have to pay for the goods you use. Ie. a mooch.

      1. Mooches? People who live or work in NYC already pay massively for NYC infrastructure, in income taxes, gas taxes, corporate taxes, etc.

        Unfortunately, NYC wastes those tax revenues on actual mooches.

        1. That’s the real rub: New Jerseyans represent 13% of Manhattan’s workforce (and 8.5% of NYC’s workforce overall) and already pay various state/city taxes without having any say over the way government is conducted there.

          Politicians there look at us as free money and so it pays for ours to make it look like they’re trying to protect us once in a while.

  11. “The MTA will also receive these congestion tolls. The money will then go toward capital improvements for mass transit in New York City and on MTA-run commuter rail lines running out to Long Island and Connecticut.”

    Funny. That’s what was supposed to happen 50 years ago with the bridge tolls in New York City. See how well that worked.

    1. Who do you work for?

      1. You show that turd who’s boss!

  12. Charging fees to pay for the cost of the road is one thing (though I think it would be better offset by selling advertising or somesuch), but using fees to control people’s freedom of movement is another.

  13. Oh, boy! Civil War 2.0 may start between two Yankee States, both equally obnoxious! This’ll be fun for the rest of the country to watch! 🙂

    If New York did charge conjestion tolls for New Jerseyans to enter, maybe ithe experience of being stuck would give New Jerseyans an incentive to fight the crooks who have turned their highway rest areas into a one-stop chop-shop.

  14. If it’s successful at reducing traffic and speeding up travel times, New York City’s congestion pricing scheme could be a model for other gridlocked American cities to emulate.

    Libertarians for higher taxes! Libertarian moment!

  15. Another more accurate headline- freeloaders don’t want to pay for the goods they use.

    1. This is the same leftie shilling for no rent and free college.

      GFY left wing shit.

      1. What crawled up your butt today seat belt?

    2. An even more accurate headline – shitluches is shitlunches.

      1. Nothing surprises me in the progressive paradise known as the People’s Republic of NJ. Phailing Phil is pandering….yet again.

        1. He’s also leading in the polls (slightly). Ciattarelli better step his game up.

  16. Guess Reason is waiting until tomorrow to cover Biden sending troops back to Afghanistan? Haha, suckers.

  17. no one cares about what happens in New York City.
    no one cares what happens in New Jersey.
    we only care about making snarky comments about those places.

  18. What? They already had a way to encourage carpooling. When you enter the bridge you used to be able to say carpool and pay $3 instead of $10, then they got rid of it! Wabt to encourage carpooling bring it back dont add a tax.

  19. Roseanne Roseanna Danna could have had a field day with this. I miss her…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.