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Tuesday’s Headlines: New Jerseyans For Congestion Pricing Edition

New Jersey's largest newspaper has no patience for Gov. Phil Murphy's "shrieking" and"hysterical" opposition to congestion pricing. Plus more news.

12:03 AM EDT on August 1, 2023

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has vowed to stop congestion pricing. Photo: Jake Hirsch/Gov. Phil Murphy’s Office

Not everyone in the Garden State wants to stop congestion pricing.

The editorial board of one of New Jersey's top newspapers called out the state's "shrieking" and "hysterical" response to the toll plan on Monday — calling Gov. Phil Murphy's assertion that pricing will increase pollution "a specious claim that will likely be consigned to history as pointless political chest-puffing."

"The reality is ... projections show that air quality will improve by thinning out vehicle traffic that is choking the entire region," the Star-Ledger/NJ.com Editorial Board said.

"As the planet boils and burns, the greatest danger is to do nothing, so strident speeches about New Jersey’s children being force-fed truck exhaust obscures the fact that every congestion pricing system in the world has resulted in extraordinary reductions in pollutants."

The board called out Murphy for his plans to pump $10 billion into widening the New Jersey Turnpike and U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer for his complaints about a .8-percent forecasted increase in pollutants in wealthy Bergen County from a plan expected to reduce pollution in Manhattan — where his constituents work — by a whopping 9 percent.

From the piece:

The plan does not single out New Jersey; that’s a myth. In fact, our commuters will benefit like everyone else as soon as they step onto a bus or subway in Manhattan, since the $2 billion generated annually will go to upgrade the city’s transit system.

The MTA expects the program will result in a 20% decrease in downtown traffic — eliminating up to 143,000 vehicles per day — while funding an upgrade for a subway that 200,000 New Jerseyans use daily. Who can’t endorse an upgrade that makes lower Manhattan more livable, improves regional air quality, and benefits Jersey commuters? Gov. Murphy and every other Jersey politician, that’s who. Because pollution.

"New Jersey vs. New York" has been an easy narrative for the media here and nationally, but not everyone in the Garden State is on "Team Traffic." Take it from the Star-Ledger: "The burning must end, or it will end us. We need to get out of our cars and start breathing again. New York is showing the way."

In other news:

  • The price of a subway or bus ride in New York City isn't supposed to increase to $2.90 until Aug. 20, but some straphangers were surprised Monday to find the MTA had mistakenly charged them the new fare — thanks to “prematurely implemented software changes." (The City, Daily News, Advance, NY1, ABC7, Patch, amNY)
  • Gothamist is the latest outlet to chime in on the moped crisis, choosing to pit cyclists against moped users with scant mention of the biggest fish in the sea — cars and trucks.
  • Programming alert: our own Julianne Cuba will be on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer show on Tuesday morning to discuss the moped issue.
  • Chuck Schumer posed for a photo op with Revel. (@SenSchumer via Twitter)
  • Crain's has picked up the anti-MTA overtime mantle from The Post, and reports that some LIRR workers made more than the governor in 2022.
  • Construction (and subway service changes) have come to Queensboro Plaza. (Gothamist)
  • Congestion pricing foe Bob Holden wants the MTA to spend more money on nearly empty express buses that serve his district. (QNS)
  • The Times makes a pitch for everything the MTA hopes to pay for with congestion pricing.
  • And finally, enjoy your Tuesday:

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