Cuomo Hints At Possible Congestion Pricing Exemptions After NJ Officials Push Back

April 17, 2019 - 2:50 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — For the first time, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is indicating some drivers may be given an exemption when his congestion pricing plan is implemented.

The announcement Wednesday comes after a number of elected officials in New Jersey proposed a bill to yank federal funding for New York if New Jersey driver were tolled twice to enter the city.

Congressmen Josh Gottheimer and Bill Pascrell told reporters earlier in the day that they would continue to fight for New Jersey drivers who enter Manhattan daily and would be tolled to cross the George Washington Bridge and then again when entering into the city’s central business district.

“We're not here today to pick a fight,” said Pascrell, “but we will not back down. Hear this please: We will not back down from a fight to protect the Jersey families either.”

"The ‘Anti-Congestion Tax Act,’ or as I also like call it, the ‘Manhattan Moocher Prevention Act,’ takes two concrete solutions," said Gottheimer.

The first would stop federal funding for the MTA until New Jersey drivers receive an exemption from the congestion pricing fee. The second would allow drivers to deduct the fee from their taxes.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has already vowed to fight congestion pricing, saying it’s “unacceptable. That’s a double taxation which we can’t envision.”

Gov. Cuomo address the New Jersey officials concerns in the afternoon saying, “There’s no reason to be angry.”

He contends that congestion pricing does not target New Jersey driver and will instead impact all drivers.

“They are in no different position than people coming in from Queens. They are in no different position the people coming in from Brooklyn.”

New Jersey officials proposed an exemption for drivers entering Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge, similar to other ideas floated for drivers who enter through the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels.

Cuomo seemed to hear their concerns and said a discount for drivers coming over the bridge is a possibility.

What the New York governor said he doesn’t want to see is drivers dramatically shift traffic patterns to avoid the tolls and notes that providing the same discount to all three major Hudson River crossings may prevent that.