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NY, NJ Reps. Malliotakis, Gottheimer join forces to stop NYC’s $15 congestion toll ‘cash grab’

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A bipartisan bill aimed at outlawing the controversial first-in-the-nation $15 “congestion” toll to enter Manhattan’s business district south of 60th Street was introduced Wednesday by New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer.

“The MTA’s Congestion Pricing Plan is nothing more than a cash grab that will take more money from commuters and shift traffic from Manhattan to the outer boroughs, increasing pollution in my district, particularly in minority communities,” Malliotakis, a Republican who represents Staten Island and southern Brooklyn said.

“The MTA’s war on cars is bankrupting commuters, and we will continue to use every legal and legislative tool we have to stop it,” she said.


A bipartisan bill aimed at outlawing the $15 “congestion” toll to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street was introduced Wednesday by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and Rep. Josh Gottheimer. Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Gottheimer, a Democrat, represents a north New Jersey district that borders the George Washington Bridge.

“The mismanaged MTA’s Congestion Tax is nothing but a shameless cash grab that will lead to more traffic, pollution, and financial heartache for Jersey and New York families. That’s exactly why we’re introducing legislation at the federal level to stop it,” Gottheimer said.

Gottheimer separately held a press conference outside MTA headquarters downtown demanding a breakdown of how the transit agency came up with the estimate that the new Midtown $15 toll would generate $1 billion in revenue. He claims it would raise triple that.

He complained the MTA has blown off his legal requests for information.

Gottheimer said he is sending a bipartisan letter with his New York GOP colleagues to the chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee requesting a formal subpoena for the information that he sought in his legal request and a hearing where MTA leaders can testify about the congestion tax.

In response, a top MTA  official — Long Island Rail Road president Rob Free — mocked Gottheimer when asked about the Garden State congressman’s criticism.


The George Washington Bridge as seen from Hazard Beach, Fort Lee, New Jersey
A Siena College poll released Monday found that nearly two-thirds of voters in New York City and the Empire State oppose the new Manhattan toll — spanning every cross-section of residents. Robert Miller

“Gottheimer — Goodheimer — I’m not sure of his name,” Free said during an unrelated press conference celebrating the LIRR’s 190th anniversary.  

“I believe I saw in a video that he was chauffeured here in a car. I’m trying to understand why he didn’t take public transit and New Jersey transit over the river and use the MTA system,” Free said of Gottheimer to guffaws from transit advocates.

But the public overwhelmingly opposes the congestion toll.

A Siena College poll released Monday found that nearly two-thirds of voters in New York City and the Empire State oppose the new Manhattan toll — spanning every cross-section of residents.

Congestion pricing is being implemented because of a state law championed by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Democrat-controlled legislature in 2019 — yet only 34% of Democrats support it.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, Cuomo’s successor, has defended congestion pricing as a good thing to curb traffic, improve the environment and fund mass transit amid a plethora of lawsuits to block it.

The toll could be charged beginning in June.


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