Josh Gottheimer

Gottheimer Releases New Congressional Report on NY’s Congestion Tax

U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) today released a new Congressional Report on New York’s proposed congestion tax. It’s based on a detailed study and analysis of the MTA’s announcement this past December with the specifics of its pricing scheme.

The major finding in the report is that the MTA is estimated to generate $3.4 billion in a year from the congestion tax, well above the $1 billion objective required by New York’s State Legislature. The report also shows that the MTA could exempt all New Jersey crossings from the congestion tax and still raise its target $1 billion.

The calculation uses the bottom end of the MTA’s potential pricing (without surge pricing and toll increases, including credits, assuming all trucks are priced as small size and all vehicles will use EZ-Pass, and using the MTA’s assumption of a 17% decrease in traffic entering the Congestion Zone).

Here are some findings listed in Gottheimer’s Congressional Report:

  • The congestion tax is estimated to raise $3.4 billion in a year, three times the New York State Legislature’s required $1 billion objective.
  • Even if the MTA doesn’t charge a nickel to those using New Jersey crossings into the Central Business District (60th Street via George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, and Holland Tunnel), the congestion tax is estimated to raise $1.4 billion in a year. That’s $400 million above its target. Mathematically, the MTA could — and should — exempt all New Jersey crossings from the congestion tax and still raise its target $1 billion.
  • Through current tolls to cross the Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, George Washington Bridge, Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge, and Outerbridge Crossing, New York already made $1.8 billion in 2022 from these New Jersey to New York crossings.
  • Per the MTA’s current proposal, the congestion tax will cost New Jersey and New York drivers up to $24.75 a day — nearly $6,500 a year — on top of the $17-a-day tolls for bridges and tunnels and the cost of gas and parking, just to drive south of 60th Street in New York City.
  • On a Gridlock Alert Day, at the MTA’s sole discretion, a driver entering into the Central Business District will pay up to 25% more or $30.94 a day in “Surge Pricing.”
  • The MTA, by their own authority, can raise the congestion tax by 10% in 2024 — up to $16.50 a day and more than $20 on Gridlock Alert Days.
  • The congestion tax will likely result in a $830 million loss to the Port Authority capital projects in infrastructure investment over the next decade, directly damaging mass transit in the region, such as renovating the Port Authority Bus Terminal, replacing the Lincoln Tunnel helix, and repairing the George Washington Bridge suspension cables.
  • Not only will the congestion tax push trucks to the George Washington Bridge, but the price difference will force more cars to back up at the tunnels. The MTA’s proposed pricing scheme encourages toll shopping. The MTA has setup a scheme where certain crossings are more expensive than others. The Holland Tunnel and Lincoln Tunnel are provided a $5 discount on the congestion tax; the George Washington Bridge receives none. As a result, this will attract more truck traffic to the bridge to avoid the congestion tax zone, causing more truck polluting emission into Northern New Jersey, and forcing more car commuters to the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels to seek lower daily costs.

“Now that we know what the MTA is planning to charge for the congestion tax, it begs the question, just how much revenue will New York and the MTA generate for themselves from the Congestion?” asked Gottheimer. “We know they aren’t planning to give a nickel to Jersey. When you run the numbers, New York’s proposed congestion tax scheme will likely raise $3.4 billion dollars — three times the $1 billion dollar objective as required by New York State Law.”

He continued, “New York can fully exempt all cars and trucks from the congestion tax entering the South of 60th Street via the George Washington Bridge, and Holland and Lincoln Tunnels — and still raise $1.4 billion dollars a year. That’s $400 million dollars above their legally mandated target. In other words, there is no reason New Jersey drivers can’t be exempt from the congestion tax. Instead of making Jersey pay for the MTA’s woeful mismanagement, New Yorkers can pay for New York’s MTA problem.”


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