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Monday’s Headlines: Congestion Pricing Lawsuit Hangover Edition

Everyone's talking about New Jersey's pro-smog, anti-congestion pricing lawsuit. Plus other news.

12:03 AM EDT on July 24, 2023

Ah but imagine if they were all electric. Photo: Josh Katz

Everyone's talking about New Jersey's pro-smog, anti-congestion pricing lawsuit against the Biden administration and New York.

If you're just tuning in: Last month the feds gave New York and the MTA the green light to charge car trips in Manhattan below 60th Street, setting up the Traffic Mobility Review Board to finally meet and begin discussing tolls. The TMRB met last Wednesday, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy sued to stop the program two days later.

Most New York pols, including Gov. Hochul, criticized the suit, as Streetsblog's Dave Colon reported on Friday. "Only ~3% of New Jersey residents enter Manhattan via car, and their median income is over $100k," Manhattan Council Member Erik Bottcher tweeted. "We see where the political power lies. Mass transit users come second, as always."

Hell Gate's Chris Robbins broke down Murphy's legal arguments, such that they are. The Daily News editorial board opined that the entire drama is a “ruse” and Murphy’s legal arguments are “blather” meant to conceal Jersey pols’ true goal — to win a rebate for their wealthy suburban constituents who drive into the city via the George Washington Bridge.

Not everyone on this side of the river is on board, of course, and Staten Island also wants to sue, The Post reported on Saturday. Republicans in D.C., led by Staten Island Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, want to deny the MTA the right to use any federal funds for the tolls. Mayor Adams, meanwhile, was conspicuously silent about the lawsuit — despite being an ostensible, longtime congestion pricing supporter.

If the mayor needs advice on what to say, he can always turn to Paul Krugman. The economist and New York Times columnist cited Streetsblog in a series of tweets assailing the Gasoline State and its governor:

In other news:

  • The driver of a TLC-licensed van collided with an MTA bus in the Bronx, resulting in at least 10 injuries. (NY Post, Daily News, ABC7NY, CBS New York)
  • ICYMI: Outdoor dining will finally get a City Council vote on Aug. 3. (News12, Streetsblog)
  • Developers across the city failed to maintain "privately owned public spaces" for which they received tax breaks. (NY Times)
  • Access-A-Ride users are still frustrated over fare increases. (Daily News)
  • The Post on free buses: "Bending the knee on a fave policy hobbyhorse of deranged progressives."
  • The Post on crossing the street: "Another far-left step in the wrong direction for the crime-plagued Big Apple."
  • Now do bike lanes. (The City)

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