New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is preparing to file a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) plan to introduce the first congestion pricing toll system in Manhattan’s central business district.
Governor Murphy has hired attorneys Randy Mastro and Craig Carpenito to review all legal possibilities to halt the initiative, which has been approved by both New York Governor Kathy Hochul and President Joe Biden.
Murphy’s office criticized the Federal Highway Administration’s decision to approve the MTA’s proposal, implying that it favors the MTA’s financial interests over the needs of New Jersey residents.
Bailey Lawrence, Murphy’s spokesman, said, “While we are not necessarily opposed to a carefully crafted congestion pricing proposal, we are deeply disappointed by the FHWA’s limited review and skeptical of the motives of a financially ailing agency that has failed to meaningfully engage with our administration on this issue.”
Murphy’s office vowed to resist a tolling system that could impose disproportionate burdens on environmental justice communities and severely impact New Jersey commuters and transit agencies.
Governor Murphy has even initiated an advertising campaign in an attempt to persuade New York residents and businesses to relocate to New Jersey in protest against the congestion pricing plan.
The MTA has indicated that the toll could range between $9 and $23 per day, potentially being implemented by next spring. Mastro, one of Murphy’s lawyers, criticized the federal approval of the plan, asserting that it lacked a comprehensive review of the environmental impact.
Governor Hochul, meanwhile, defended the pricing plan, stating that the system will serve the interests of New Yorkers and people within the entire commuting range. She mentioned that 28 million people would benefit from continuous investments in the system.
The report on the MTA’s plan, which took over two years and spans over 4,800 pages, found that the proposed tolls could decrease the number of cars in Manhattan’s central business district by up to 60%.
However, it also suggested that some of the traffic could be diverted to expressways in the outer boroughs or New Jersey, which Murphy’s legal team deemed unjust.
Despite the opposition, supporters of the congestion pricing plan remain confident in its implementation, citing years of research on the matter.