By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD
Last month, New Jersey legislators took an important step in solidifying a response to New York’s looming threat of imposing a congestion tax on Garden State commuters. United States Congressman Josh Gottheimer began sounding the alarm on the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) Central Business District Tolling Program (the “Congestion Tax”) as early as May 2022. Announcing the “Stay In Jersey” campaign that is, in large part, the impetus for the new “Stay in Jersey” legislation.
Expected to go into effect in 2023, New York’s Congestion Tax is aimed at reducing emissions, improving transit, and combatting city congestion. However, it will add an additional $23 toll to the already high cost of traveling into the City for anyone needing to travel south of 60th Street to work. This additional cost, estimated at $5,000 annually, raises many serious concerns including what effect it could have on already struggling small businesses and New Jersey’s low-income population. Also, unlike shared Port Authority revenue, New Jersey does not benefit from the money raised by the tax.
At the heart of both the “Stay In Jersey” campaign and “Stay In Jersey Bill” is the desire to protect New Jersey’s bridge and tunnel commuters from shouldering the financial burden of financing the MTA’s plan. The proposed legislation establishes a multi-million dollar annual program through 2027 that will provide incentives to New York businesses that expand operations into New Jersey; allowing New Jersey residents to work closer to home. By avoiding the commute into New York City, legislators also hope to save New Jersey residents the cost of parking, gas and tolls.
Campanella Law Office will continue to monitor the “Stay in Jersey” bill as it progresses through its legislative journey. Meanwhile, it is notable that New York’s congestion tax plan remains in the “public hearing” phase and is accepting comments through Friday, September 23, 2022.