Rooney writes prescription for NJ commuters’ ‘congestion’ symptoms

TRENTON, N.J. – New York City will begin charging drivers for entering lower Manhattan next year. Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney has drafted legislation to mitigate the impact of so-called congestion pricing on New Jersey commuters who travel to the city every day. Rooney’s bill creates a commission to study the feasibility of reimbursing state residents and businesses impacted by the plan and make recommendations to the Legislature. Rooney will introduce the measure when the Assembly reconvenes on May 16.

“I will not stand idly by and let New York take advantage of New Jerseyans,” said Rooney (R-Bergen). “Our residents already face expensive tolls and the traffic congestion that they are being penalized for, and this new scheme is just another effort by New York to undermine New Jersey, once again.”

The details of the congestion tax are not finalized, but earlier this month New York state legislators approved a plan supplementing the network of bridge and tunnel tolls that charge vehicles entering Manhattan. One proposal would charge $12 per car and $25 per truck during prime business hours. This week, Gov. Phil Murphy claimed he had an agreement with N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo to give drivers credit for congestion pricing fees, but today the chairman of the N.Y. Metropolitan Transportation Authority insisted there is no deal, and he has ‘no idea what [Murphy] is talking about.’”

“Given the governor’s preference to take premature victory laps rather than actually securing a deal to protect commuters from congestion pricing, it’s clear we need this commission to guarantee that our collective interests are represented,” Rooney said.

Rooney’s bill establishes an eight-member commission, including the executive directors of the N.J. Turnpike Authority and N.J. Transit, and members of the public appointed by the governor, Senate president and Assembly speaker. 

New York’s plan could expand the E-Z Pass system and utilize cameras to photograph license plates to collect the tolls. 

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