New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Sunday ripped the MTA’s congestion pricing plan, warning New York City, as it recovers from the pandemic, shouldn’t want to give people “some other excuse to not be in Manhattan.”
The controversial program — which aims to cut traffic in downtown Manhattan by charging drivers anywhere from $9 to $23 — would be unfair to Jersey commuters, and hurt communities still struggling to recover from the pandemic, Murphy told radio host John Catsimatidis on his Cats Roundtable on WABC 770 AM.
The two-term Democrat added the glacial pace at which plans have moved to renovate the Port Authority Bus Terminal and build new tunnels under the Hudson River has only made things worse.
“If they were already done, and the New Jersey commuter had a real alternative to driving … that they could get in a bus and be sure of a quick ride or one-seat train ride, that would be one thing, but that’s not the case at the moment,” Murphy said.
“I don’t want to speak for New York,” Murphy continued. “But if we’re already, all of us, in the process of struggling to get back on our feet post-pandemic — because we all are — the last thing it seems to me you want to do is to give people some other excuse to not be in Manhattan.”
Passed in 2019, the MTA program would place a toll on vehicles entering Manhattan below 60th Street.
It has garnered adamant support from transit advocates who argue congestion pricing will ease gridlock, help the environment and boost mass transit.
But opponents — including a bipartisan group of Congressional representatives who want to scuttle the plan — say the toll will hurt motorists, discourage tourism and push pollution to the outer boroughs and across the Hudson.
NJ Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer said at a press conference last week he thinks the MTA is badly mismanaged and hoping for a bailout.
“They’re looking desperately for cash to fill the significant hole they dug for themselves,” Gottheimer said.
The Big Apple is currently ranked as the worst city for congestion in the nation, according to the TomTom Traffic Index, which tracks congestion in major cities across the world.
New Yorkers endure a massive 236 hours — the equivalent of 10 full days — stuck in rush hour traffic each year, the index calculated.