Corzine Ratchets Up Interstate Bickering

For months, New York legislators have insisted that New Jersey drivers pay a bigger chunk of the congestion fee than the pricing plan called for. Now that the pricing bill includes such a provision (which still doesn’t satisfy Speaker Silver), New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine is crying foul. The amendment he objects to stipulates that the Port Authority contribute $1 billion to the MTA capital plan, or else drivers who
cross Hudson River tolls pay a bigger portion of the congestion fee.

As the Times, Post, and Star-Ledger reported this morning, Corzine is threatening to sue:

"I am dismayed at the attempt by the New York City Council and New York
State lawmakers to politicize the selection of Port Authority capital
projects," Corzine said. "Unless this plan treats all drivers fairly, I
am prepared to pursue legal action to protect New Jersey commuters from
this outrageous action."

Transferring funds from the Port Authority to the MTA requires Corzine, the Port Authority board, and New York Governor David Paterson to all give their consent. While Corzine seems unlikely to sign off on such an agreement, the door is ajar, according to the Times:

One Port Authority
official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said that the issue
could be resolved if Mr. Corzine, Gov. David A. Paterson of New York and the Port Authority can resolve the $1 billion contribution.

In a perfect world, the public discussion about Hudson River tolls would also consider the traffic associated with toll-shopping and what can be done to prevent it. Instead, it looks like we’re in for more posturing about "fairness" this week. Might we suggest taking this opportunity to revisit Carolyn Konheim’s proposal to raise the congestion fee to $10?

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