PRESS RELEASE: Gottheimer and Malliotakis announce bipartisan action to fight New York’s congestion tax







Above: Gottheimer calling for a full audit of the MTA in response to the new congestion charge.

New York, NY – Today, August 15, 2022, U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) joined a bipartisan effort to defend hard-working New Jersey and New York drivers who will soon face the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) hoarding Congestion Tax money. New York and the MTA’s congestion tax could go into effect as early as 2023. The congestion tax would cost drivers in Jersey and New York up to $23 a day – more than $5,000 a year – in addition to the $16 already far too high. -daily tolls for our bridges and tunnels, for driving south of 60th Street to work in New York from Jersey. None of the Congestion Charge revenue is used to support New Jersey, unlike the Port Authority’s shared tolls.

Last week, the MTA released a congestion tax report that showed each scenario would hit drivers with a new tax.

Today, Gottheimer and Malliotakis announced that they plan to introduce new bipartisan legislation requiring the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General to conduct a comprehensive audit of the MTA to see exactly where billions of federal dollars have gone. received over the past few years, including during COVID. The MTA receives millions a year, plus a record $15 billion in federal COVID assistance.

“If the report released by the MTA proves anything, it’s that the bureaucratic and woefully mismanaged agency views hard-working Jersey and New Yorkers as their piggy bank. Every congestion tax scenario released by the MTA last week will hit drivers with a new tax. That’s why I brought this piggy bank as a gift for the MTA. We will fight to make sure this is the only dollar the MTA gets from its congestion charge,” said Congressman Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Can you imagine a nurse or a hard working Jersey Uber driver having to pay $23 a day on top of the $16 they pay to cross the GW Bridge – not to mention what it costs to park and gasoline? Just read the MTA spelled backwards and it will tell you exactly how the MTA is looking at New Jersey right now: like its personal ATM. It’s time to audit the MTA that keeps pouring the money we sent him into a black hole.

“The fact that the city, state, and MTA are proposing a congestion charge to make up for lost revenue after receiving billions in federal aid and the ability to apply for matching grants through the federal bill on infrastructure is absurd and shows how badly the authority is managed”, said Rep. Malliotakis (NY-11). “Pursue toll evaders, turnstile jumpers, and make New York public transit safe so more residents and tourists hit the road, but stop treating New Yorkers and American taxpayers like ATMs. The MTA is a notorious black hole and the Inspector General should audit every federal dollar the MTA has received. Enough is enough.”

Gottheimer also called on E-ZPass, the multi-state toll consortium, to immediately cease and desist from its Soviet-era disinformation propaganda email campaign that they allow MTA to propagate. MTA has sent bombshell emails lying about the congestion charge to millions of E-ZPass holders — delighted at the importance of the fee for those traveling south of 60th Street, but conveniently omitting the cost of the congestion tax, how it will kill small businesses in the city and probably make traffic horribly worse north of 60e Street and the bridges and tunnels that commuters use to enter the city. This is a gross misuse of taxpayers’ personal email addresses and resources.

Gottheimer and Malliotakis encouraged those who oppose the congestion charge to submit their comments to the MTA and have their voices heard in virtual public hearings starting Aug. 25. Comments can be emailed to [email protected] or submitted to mta-nyc.custhelp.com/app/cbd_tolling. The schedule of virtual public hearings is available at https://new.mta.info/project/CBDTP.

The announcement video is available here.

Gottheimer’s notes as prepared for delivery:

Hello. It’s great to be here in New York. Of course, I’d rather be in Jersey right now, but we had to come home to the absurd idea of ​​a congestion charge.

If the report released by the MTA proves anything, it’s that the bureaucratic and woefully mismanaged agency considers hard-working Jersey and New Yorkers their piggy bank.

Every congestion tax scenario released by the MTA last week will hit drivers with a new tax. That’s why I brought this piggy bank as a gift for the MTA. As long as Nicole and I are here, we will fight to make sure this is the only dollar the MTA gets from its congestion charge.

It’s also the only dollar the MTA will get from the federal government if it pushes ahead with the $23-a-day – $5,000-a-year – Congestion Tax it plans to slaughter hardworking Jersey and New Yorkers with. starting next year – just to drive south of 60th. Can you imagine a hardworking nurse or an Uber driver in Jersey having to pay $23 a day on top of the $16 they pay to cross the GW bridge – not to mention what it costs for parking and gas ?

It will cost Jersey commuters more than $20,000 a year for the privilege of sitting in New York City traffic and supporting the city’s local shops and restaurants. You would think that New York, especially the mayor and governor, would do whatever it can right now to get Jersey’s estimated 290,000 daily commuters back to support their businesses and economy. If I were a small business owner that depends on people working and visiting New York or someone going to town, I would lose my mind about the congestion charge.

Guess not – I guess they’re just too blind to the cash grab for their mismanaged MTA.

That’s why Nicole and I both introduced legislation to stop the mismanaged MTA in its tracks. My anti-congestion tax legislation would freeze all federal dollars sent annually to the MTA – in other words, defund the MTA, if they insist on moving forward. They receive millions a year, plus a record $15 billion in federal COVID assistance. Yes, 15 billion with a B.

And what did they do with all that money? They seem to have blown it, like they’ve been on a bender all night. You wouldn’t believe how poorly managed the MTA is. In the first three months of this year alone, they lost $119 million to tariff evasion, heading towards $500 million this year alone.

These are self-inflicted losses that have nothing to do with the pandemic.

Not to mention, not too long ago, a former MTA executive pleaded guilty to obstructing an investigation into bid-rigging and fraud. This is just one of countless investigations and issues at the MTA. It is a bureaucratic and poorly managed bog.

That’s why Congresswoman Malliotakis and I are here today – to advocate for frequent drivers in New Jersey and New York who will soon face the MTA’s congestion tax.

Congresswoman Malliotakis and I are introducing bipartisan legislation that will require the DOT’s Office of Inspector General to conduct a comprehensive audit of the MTA to see exactly where the billions of federal dollars they received over the years, including during COVID. It’s time to audit the MTA who keep dumping the dollars we sent them into a black hole. We cannot continue to give this terribly mismanaged government authority billions of unchecked federal dollars.

The last thing a horribly mismanaged government authority, facing accusations of fraud and riddled with investigations, needs more money.

Just read the MTA spelled backwards and it will tell you exactly how the MTA is looking at New Jersey right now: like its personal ATM.

Every penny of the new congestion tax imposed on hard-working Jersey families, from nurses to taxi drivers to hospital patients, will go to New York. Not one cent will go back to the PATH train or NJ Transit to actually help our state in any way.

For those who say, why not just take public transport, the answer is simple: unfortunately, for many people who live in North Jersey, there are simply no public transport options. I know this is a problem for Staten Island as well. For far too many North Jersey towns, it’s a transit wasteland. And for the naysayers, I’m happy to take you around Jersey and show you firsthand – we can even get some decent pizza and bagels while you’re there.

And one more thing, I call on E-ZPass, the multi-state toll consortium, to immediately cease and desist from their Soviet-era propaganda campaign, where they send out explosive emails lying about the congestion tax to their millions of E-ZPass holders. In one of their recent propaganda emails, they rave about the importance of the fee for those traveling south of 60th Street, but conveniently left out the cost of the congestion charge, how it will kill small businesses in town and probably create traffic. horribly worse north of 60th street and at the bridges and tunnels that commuters use to enter the city.

These government propaganda emails are a gross misuse of taxpayers’ personal email addresses and resources. Once again, I call on E-ZPass to immediately stop this misinformation campaign they allow the MTA to propagate.

Finally, I encourage anyone who opposes the congestion charge to submit their comments to the MTA and have their voices heard in virtual public hearings beginning August 25th. You can email your comments to [email protected] or go to my Twitter or Facebook page – or my website – where I have provided the links to submit comments and view the hearing schedule.

When we work together, New Jersey and New York are a tough combination to beat. Look at how well we have cooperated for more than a hundred years at the Port Authority. I guess New York City is going it alone, sticking it to its own outer boroughs — and forcing Congressman Malliotakis and me to dig in and fight back. The fight has only just begun.

Thank you again and God bless you and God continue to bless the United States of America.

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