As details like discounts and transit perks are discussed in the wake of New York’s newly approved plan to levy a congestion fee on vehicles entering Manhattan’s business district south of 61st Street, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has voiced objections to the plan, saying it it could be unfair to New Jersey residents, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the New York Post, commuter rail discounts are on the way for New York City residents coming from areas–such as some in northeast Queens–not served by subways, where the MTA agreed to knock 20 percent–$45–off monthly passes for LIRR commuters entering and leaving Penn Station. The MTA will also invest $3 million for express bus service from Queens to Midtown.
Murphy is also worried that an increased number of commuters will put a strain on that state’s bus, rail and PATH systems–without the chance to benefit from the $1 billion the added revenue is expected to raise annually to shore up MTA mass transit and the 20 percent that was agreed upon to benefit Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad commuter rails. Sen. Leroy Comrie of Queens, who chairs the committee that oversees the MTA, has said that a comprehensive list of “alternatives and service improvements” will be available soon.
No discounts for Hudson River crossings appear in the final version of the bill, though there is a proposal being discussed that lowers the congestion fee to toll-payers at the Lincoln and Holland tunnels but not the George Washington Bridge. Murphy fears that would push New Jersey residents to use the tunnels, increasing traffic snarls along the way.
New Jersey’s PATH rail system is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an agency run by the governors of both states. The NJ Transit system is a statewide rail and bus system. Murphy pointed out the lack of additional capital investments for PATH and NJ Transit even though those systems will see the same increase in ridership.
A spokesman for Gov. Cuomo, whose staff met with Gov. Murphy’s staff on Wednesday, said that once the tolls are set they will be applied in a fair manner, saying,“This plan will ease congestion, help the environment, and provide billions of dollars for improvements to mass transit—all of which will benefit the entire region, including New Jersey.”
- NYC becomes the first city in the country to adopt a congestion pricing program
- Verrazzano Bridge is now the most expensive toll in the country—but only for Brooklynites
- NYC Ferry gets a $10.37 per ride subsidy despite fewer annual riders than the subway has in a day
- Staten Island, Coney Island to be added to NYC Ferry system