FORT LEE, N.J. (PIX11) – Port Authority union leaders are asking the MTA to give its employees a break on congestion pricing.
“We stand here today to call for an exemption from the MTA’s reckless and misguided congestion pricing plan for our workforce,” said Rob Zafonte, chair of a coalition of Port Authority workers. “Put simply, the MTA’s financial struggles should not be solved on the backs of essential workers who continue to get squeezed as a result of the MTA’s mismanagement.”
The MTA’s congestion pricing will toll drivers between $9 and $23 depending on the time of day and eligible discounts and will apply to drivers entering Manhattan below 60th Street. The plan is expected to generate the MTA about $1 billion in annual revenue to fix the city’s subway system and reduce traffic and emissions.
Congressmen Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. 5th District, and Anthony D’Esposito, R-NY.. 4th District, have long expressed disdain for the plan.
“Bottom line is the congestion tax is not about reducing pollution or traffic,” said Gottheimer. “It’s a cash grab and they’re willing to do it on the backs of hard-working men and women of labor.”
“This plan, spoken like a true New Yorker, screws hard-working men and women who are trying to do the right thing, who go out each and every day to put food on their table,” said D’Esposito.
In a written statement in response, MTA spokesperson Eugene Resnick said, “Congestion pricing is good for the environment, good for getting fire trucks, buses, and delivery vehicles through the city, improves air quality, makes streets safer, and is good for the 85% of people who depend on mass transit to get to where they need to go, including more than $1 billion for LIRR improvements – many of which are in Congressman D’Esposito’s district.”
The MTA also told PIX11 News there are more than a hundred officially recorded requests for exemptions and discounts, and officials have noted that for every discount granted, the basic toll rate charged to drivers would need to be raised to make up for the lost revenue. The MTA’s congestion pricing is set to begin in April.