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NJ Lawmakers Aim To Block Increased Tolls Into Manhattan

George Washington Bridge
George Washington Bridge Photo Credit: Hand332 INSTAGRAM

Two New Jersey congressman are pulling out the stops to block a surcharge on drivers entering Manhattan.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Bill Pascrell Jr. put a formal request in to the U.S. Department of Transportation to stop the plan.

New Jersey commuters -- specifically those who take the George Washington Bridge to and from Manhattan -- fear that they'll be charged a toll for the bridge and a congestion pricing fee to drive south of 61st street: A "double toll."

“We’re standing here in Fort Lee to say this will not stand the light of day,” NJ.com said citing Pascrell.

“It’s some sort of sick joke to do this to families in the middle of a pandemic,” the outlet said citing Gottheimer.

New York City gained approval on March 30 to charge motorists a fee for driving below 61st street in Manhattan.

Drivers using the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels would have their tolls applied to the congestion pricing fee. But the proposed provision does not cover the George Washington Bridge.

Gottheimer and Pascrell promised to stop the plan while asking U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to halt any approvals.

New York City is the first American city to propose congestion pricing. London, Singapore and Stockholm already use congestion pricing.

The cost of the plan is too much for New Jersey commuters, Gottheimer said, estimating an estimated additional $3,000 annual for the average commuter. 

The extra cost for NJ commuters using the George Washington Bridge would be $13 tacked onto the $15 bridge toll, the congressman said.

“It’s some sort of sick joke to do this to families in the middle of a pandemic,” Gottheimer said.

Pascrell said he hopes that DOT Secretary Buttigieg can accommodate more people on mass transit than through the congestion pricing plan, according to NJ Advance Media. “I think the president has a better idea than congestion taxation,” Pascrell said.

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