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Thursday’s Headlines: Two Can Play At That Game Edition

A Brooklyn politician takes New Jersey at its anti-congestion pricing word. Plus more news.

12:00 AM EST on January 18, 2024

Original Photo: Martial Arts Nomad|

In this corner (left), it’s state Sen. Andrew Gounardes and in the far corner, it’s New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy about to rumble as U.S. DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg looks on.

A Brooklyn politician is taking New Jersey at its anti-congestion pricing word — and threatening to sue the state for charging out-of-state drivers to use its highways.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday claimed — in tweets and court documents — that New York's plan to toll all drivers entering Manhattan below 60th Street — violates the Commerce Clause of the Construction because it impedes his constituents' "right to travel and work in New York without having to pay discriminatory tolls."

Running with Murphy's logic — and more than a hint of irony — State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge) called it "outrageous, unconscionable and discriminatory" that he has to pay tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike, which Murphy is plans to widen using $10 billion of toll revenue.

"We’re currently assessing legal options and may be forced to sue @NJGov for their blatant discriminatory actions," Gounardes joked.

Murphy's latest argument is an addendum to his ongoing lawsuit against congestion pricing, which aims to fund sorely needed subway and transit repairs, improve bus and car speeds and — by reducing the number of cars on the road — cut back on fatal crashes.

His argument that the toll is "discriminatory" against New Jersey residents likely has no legal standing — it's also flatly untrue: Under every tolling scenario studied by the MTA for its environmental review of the program, New Jersey drivers would pay a smaller percentage of the MTA's toll revenue than the overall traffic they cause.

In other news:

  • From the Assignment Desk: Council Member Erik Bottcher (D-Manhattan) will launch a PSA campaign on Thursday specifically for his district to urge cyclists to respect the rules of the road and the safety of pedestrians. Bottcher will be joined by delivery workers and pedestrian advocates at 11 a.m. at the corner of W. 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue in Chelsea.
  • Another anti-congestion pricing lawsuit has entered the fray, this time from a group led by former Lower Manhattan Council Member Kathryn Freed. Among the demands? That the MTA "properly assess hardship" for Manhattanites with second homes upstate. (NY Post)
  • Gothamist equated e-bikes with the faulty lithium-ion batteries — often used for e-bikes — that have caused deadly fires all over the city. Check the Streetsblog archives for more nuanced coverage of the issue.
  • Cops say they arrested the reckless driver who killed Ava Conklin last year near the Rockaway Hotel. (NYDN)
  • The Daily News spoke to the mother of the victim of last week's fatal hit-and-run. Police have yet to apprehend the driver who caused the crash.
  • Mayor Adams's legal defense fund features at least two conflicts of interest. (Hell Gate, NY Times)
  • WPIX gives "broken record" Josh Gottheimer a platform to lie about his bogus anti-congestion pricing "math."
  • Judge denies motion to dismiss charges against Daniel Penny in chokehold killing of Jordan Neely. (Daily News)
  • Vindictive Council Speaker Adrienne Adams punishes progressives who voted against last year's budget. (NY Times, City & State)

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