Murphy warns Port Authority — don’t cut Jersey projects if congestion pricing goes through

Published: Oct. 12, 2022

A letter from Gov. Phil Murphy to the Port Authority about New York’s proposed congestion pricing plan comes with a stern warning to the bi-state agency – don’t cut New Jersey projects if revenue drops.

A copy of the Oct. 11 letter, obtained by NJ Advance Media, asked Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton if the agency calculated how much revenue it could lose annually. He also asked how the agency’s capital investments could be reduced from lost revenue over a 15-year period. Finally, Murphy asked which projects could be on the chopping block.

Then came the warning.

“I want it to be clear that any reduction in the Port Authority capital plan because of congestion pricing should not come at the expense of New jersey projects,” he wrote.

Murphy spoke about the letter to reporters after an event in Woodbridge Wednesday.

“I did send a letter to Port Authority leadership,” Murphy said. “(It’s) a strong assertion by me that it can’t come out of New Jersey’s capital projects.”

Instead Murphy said any revenue losses and capital projects cut “will have to come out of New York’s Port Authority capital projects because the congestion pricing scheme isn’t ours.”

In the letter, Murphy cited the fact that congestion pricing revenue will solely benefit the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, despite calls for sharing revenue with NJ Transit and the Port Authority’s PATH rails system, which are expected to see additional passengers if congestion pricing is approved and implemented.

“The Port Authority has received the letter from Governor Murphy and we’re going to continue the analysis that is already underway,” said Tom Pietrykoski, a Port authority spokesman. “We’ll be responding directly to the Governor.”

The MTA has proposed charging a toll of $9 to $23 to travel south of 60th Street in Manhattan for non-commercial passenger vehicles during peak travel times to raise funds for major subway, bus and MTA commuter rail projects and to reduce air pollution from vehicles and traffic.

Decisions still have to be made about whether to give George Washington Bridge drivers credit for that toll toward the congestion fee. A report recommended toll credits at the Lincoln, Holland, Hugh Carey-Queens Mid-town and Brooklyn Battery tunnels which are located in the congestion zone.

Murphy said he is not opposed to the goals of congestion pricing but said it can’t be done at the expense of “double taxing” New Jersey commuters with tolls and a congestion fee.

In addition to other Port Authority capital projects in New Jersey, the state has several multi-bullion dollar projects pending at the bi-state agency. Completion of a new Terminal A at Newark Airport, replacing of the 1990′s era monorail serving the terminals and plans to build a new Terminal B are among the largest.

Garden State commuters also have a stake in plans to rebuild the aging Port Authority Bus terminal in midtown Manhattan that serves 225,000 commuters on an average weekday.

The governor also called on the Federal Highway Administration to require the MTA to conduct a more extensive Environmental Impact Study of the congestion pricing proposals. That study would require more than the recent environmental analysis released in August. If required, that would mean a later implementation than the late 2023-early 2024 date the MTA has discussed.

Earlier this month, Murphy mentioned his request to President Joe Biden and earlier to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. The Federal Highway Administration will make the final decision.

Both the New Jersey and New York governors control appointments to the Port Authority board of commissioners and have veto power over board meetings, which would affect contracts and other authority business.

Do you like this post?

Showing 1 reaction


published this page in News and Politics 2022-10-13 03:22:09 -0700