FORT LEE, NJ — Congressmen Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) announced plans last week to fight back against the proposed New York congestion taxes targeting New Jersey commuters that drive into Manhattan.
Under a plan championed by New York Governor Andre Cuomo, and passed recently by the New York Legislature, drivers will be assessed an additional fee for driving their vehicle south of 60th Street in Manhattan. Slated to take effect in December 2020 or early 2021 the plan is expected to raise $1 billion in revenue annually. Those dollars, New York state officials say, will be used for mass transit upgrades.
Citing statistics that show that over 300,000 New Jersey residents commute to New York every day, and with their districts being home too many of them, Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-9) and Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-5) spoke out last week against the new tax.
“New Jerseyans are used to getting the short end of the stick. It’s part of why we’re so tough. But we pay our fair share – and then some,” Pascrell said. “New Jersey and New York should be on the same team. We should not be in competition. New Jersey’s priorities are New York’ priorities and vice-versa. But we will not back down from a fight to protect New Jersey families either.”
Gottheimer pointed out that while current tolls paid at the George Washington Bridge, which the two used as their backdrop, are used by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and there benefit residents from both states, “every nickel of that new mid-town congestion tax will go to New York.”
“Thousands of Jersey drivers – many from my District and from Bill’s District – who commute every day, will face a new congestion tax of about $3,000 a year.That’s a joke.” Gottheimer said.
Pascrell and Gottheimer also sent a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calling on him to consider the burden proposed congestion pricing would place on already-taxed New Jersey commuters, and call on him to invest revenue gained through imposed congestion pricing with New Jersey Transit, the Port Authority, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, the PATH system, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal which desperately needs an upgrade.
In addition to the press conference and letter to Cuomo, Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) announced new bipartisan legislation with Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4) — the Anti-Congestion Tax Act, also known as the Manhattan Moocher Prevention Act — that takes two concrete actions to encourage New York to reconsider its new, outrageous congestion tax on New Jersey commuters.
1) The Anti-Congestion Tax bill will prohibit the Secretary of Transportation from awarding any new Capital Investment Grants to MTA projects in New York until drivers from all three New Jersey crossings into Manhattan receive exemptions from this new congestion tax.
2) The Anti-Congestion Tax bill will amend the Internal Revenue Code to offer drivers a federal tax credit at the end of the year equal to the amount paid in congestion taxes entering Manhattan from any of the three New Jersey crossings. This will protect Jersey drivers from double taxation.