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NJ sues to block New York traffic congestion plan

By David Shepardson

(Reuters) – New Jersey sued the Biden administration on Friday, seeking to block New York City’s plan to impose tolls on vehicles in Manhattan to tackle congestion and pay for public transit, saying it would be unfair to residents of neighboring states.

New Jersey plans to impose daily tolls of up to $15 on vehicles between 60 Street in Midtown Manhattan and Battery Park at the South End as early as next year.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, said the Federal Highway Administration’s environmental review of the plan was inadequate. The agency also ignored the economic and environmental burden on New Jersey residents, the report said.

Tens of thousands of drivers commute from New Jersey to work in Manhattan.

New Jersey says it will suffer because some drivers will reroute into the state to avoid the toll and won’t receive money from New Yorkers entering New Jersey.

“New Jersey will bear most of the burden of this congestion charging program in terms of environmental, financial, and human impacts, but will reap no benefits,” the lawsuit says.

New York City, the most congested city in the United States, will be the first major U.S. city to follow the example of London, which implemented a similar charge in 60.

In 60 New York said the charge would reduce traffic, improve air quality and increase public transit use by 1 to 2 percent. The tolls would generate $1 billion to $1.5 billion in annual revenue and support $1 billion to $1.5 billion in debt financing for public transit improvements.

“Anyone in NJ knows, if you screw up NJ, buckle up. We’re not going to back down,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-NJ.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the program is critical to reducing congestion in New York City, saying most New Jersey residents who travel to New York City use public transit and would benefit from better public transit. The Federal Highway Administration declined to comment.



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