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Report: New Jersey May See Red over Congestion Pricing, but Garden State Gets Plenty of MTA Green

They like to whine, but they are also counting the money.

12:00 AM EDT on June 29, 2023

For all the complaining that New Jersey officials are doing over the MTA's congestion pricing, the Garden State is the single biggest recipient (outside of New York, of course) of spending by the transit agency — money that mostly enriches corporations and workers in the very areas where members of congress are most vociferous.

From 2014-2022, the MTA paid New Jersey companies $3.3 billion for goods and services for capital construction projects and other needs, according to a new report from Reinvent Albany. That figure is well below the $26 billion that the MTA spent in New York State, but it is 70 percent more than the agency spent in Pennsylvania and more than it spent in the next three states — Illinois, California and North Carolina — combined.

Congestion pricing will raise $15 billion for MTA capital projects — so if the distribution of money continues along the same trendline, New Jersey businesses stand to get close to another $1.5 billion in contracts.

“The MTA is a major job creator and contributor to the region’s economy, and it is clear that New Jersey businesses are big players in MTA contracting,” said Rachael Fauss, senior policy adviser for Reinvent Albany and the author of the report. “Congestion pricing will bring in $15 billion alone for the MTA’s $55 billion 2020-2024 capital plan, and New Jersey businesses stand to profit from this major increase in MTA capital spending.”

The bellyaching over the MTA's plan to raise $1 billion per year from drivers entering Manhattan below 60th Street is particularly ironic coming from Reps. Bill Pascrell, Mikie Sherrill, Frank Pallone and Josh Gottheimer, all Democrats in North Jersey. In the nine years of Reinvent Albany's study period, the MTA spent $1.025 billion, $682 million, $312 million and $290 million in their respective districts.

The report also outlines which Jersey companies are doing the most business with the MTA. These companies all billed more than $100 million each:

  • Walsh Construction Company (Little Falls, NJ): $291 million, Hurricane Sandy Repairs and Mitigation
  • 86th St Constructors JV (Secaucus, NJ): $229 million, Second Avenue Subway
  • Railroad Construction Company (Paterson, NJ): $168 million, Mid-Suffolk Electric Yard, Morris Park Shop, Buckram Road Bridge, etc.
  • Cummins (Newark and Kearny): $145 million, engines, compressors, parts, etc.
  • Prismatic Development Corporation (Fairfield): $126 million, Design/ Build for Clifton Shop in Staten Island

MTA spending has been increasing in New Jersey since 2014, when the agency spent $129 million in the Garden State. By 2020, the MTA spent $725 million in the state. In the last two years, the agency has spent more than $1 billion.

Chart: Reinvent Albany

New Jersey officials, including Gov. Phil Murphy, have threatened to sue to stop congestion pricing.

The MTA was eager to remind him and others of the benefits to their state.

"Congestion pricing will not only be good for the environment, reduce traffic, and improve regional air quality, but it will also continue to boost the Garden State’s economy by investing billions of dollars in New Jersey-based companies that design and build projects for the MTA," said MTA Spokesperson Eugene Resnick.

We reached out to all of the members of Congress mentioned in this story and will update it if we hear back.

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