Readers Write: Why not give Jersey a fair share of congestion toll pricing revenues?    

Readers Write: Why not give Jersey a fair share of congestion toll pricing revenues?    
  There is a solution for “A Jersey jeer for congestion priciing foes” (Editorial — August 17).
Elected officials continue to lobby for discounts or exemptions for police officers, firefighters, emergency medical services (ems), teachers, low-income, NYC outer borough & suburban residents, seniors, physically disabled, small commercial delivery businesses, users of electric vehicles, taxi, Urber and Lyft drivers, residents living below 60th Street in Manhattan or other special niches. 
These discounts or exemptions will be adopted to placate constituents of public officials when running for reelection in 2024.
The MTA Traffic Mobility Review Board is in the process of holding a series of meetings. This is to determine who will pay how much in tolls for those driving south of 60th Street in Manhattan.
One hundred and twenty various constituencies have requested exemptions or reductions. Some New Jersey elected officials have filed federal legislation or lawsuits to prevent the MTA from initiating Congestion Pricing.  More discounts equals less revenue. 
Taxi, Uber/Lyft drivers may pass most of these news costs on to riders.  This will probably result in fewer customers.
There is no guarantee that anywhere near $1 billion in annual toll revenues will appear.  You can’t capture five years of toll revenues estimated to be $1 billion per year when you implement the program four and 1/2 years late or after 90% of the MTA $51 billion Five Year 2020 – 2024 capital program has come and gone. Congestion Pricing may not be implemented until June 2024.
This would result in the MTA having to postpone virtually all of the $15 billion in capital projects (funded by tolling) until the next 2025 – 2029 Five Year Capital Plan. There is still a bumpy road ahead before Congestion Pricing becomes a reality.

This is supposed to raise $15 billion toward the MTA $51 billion 2020 – 2025 Five Year Capital Plan. Both NJ Transit and the Port Authority have similar multi-year Capital Plans. 

 This a simple solution to resolve New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s lawsuit against the MTA’s implementation of Congestion Price Tolling.

All the MTA has to do is share some of the proceeds. Just like the MTA, both NJ Transit and the Port Authority have similar multi-year Capital Plans. Gov. Kathy Hochul and MTA Chairman Janno Lieber should offer Governor Murphy, NJ Transit and the Port Authority and PATH a fair share of revenues generated by these new tolls Garden State residents will be paying.

Why not share 5% each with NJ Transit, Port Authority and Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH) subway. This will still leave the MTA with 85% of toll revenues for NYC Transit bus, subway, Staten Island Railway, MTA Bus, Long Island and Metro North Commuter Rail Roads. 

Some of these dollars could go toward the NJ share for the $18 billion (two new Hudson River plus rehab of two existing tunnels) or $39 billion full scope Gateway Tunnel project, $10 billion Port Authority 42nd Street Bus Terminal, N.J. share of Hochul’s latest $8 billion Penn Station improvement project along with N.J. Transit and PATH capital programs or other transportation improvements beneficial to N.J. residents. 
After all, fair is fair. Thousands of New Yorkers are reverse commuters traveling from Penn Station, Herald Square, Port Authority George Washington Bridge and 42nd Street bus terminals via bus, ferry, rail and PATH, to jobs, schools, shopping sports stadiums, entertainment, Newark Airport and other NJ destinations. They benefit by N.J. Transit, Port Authority and PATH capital investments.

Larry Penner
Great Neck
Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously served as a former director for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office of Operations and Program Management.  

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