In surprise, congestion pricing (set to start June 30) is shelved by N.Y. Gov. Hochul

Gottheimer, Murphy, others celebrate surprising reversal — major victory for New Jersey commuters

The decision by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to delay the toll plan known as congestion pricing — a proposal that drew ire and lawsuits from New Jersey officials — is being widely praised by elected officials in New Jersey, eager to celebrate a victory few saw coming.

The first-in-the-country plan, which was scheduled to start June 30, would have charged drivers using E-ZPass as much as $15 to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street.

New York officials called it an effort to help the environment.

New Jersey officials said it was a shameless money grab for the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Ultimately, the plan may have been killed because of concerns it would hurt New York Democrats this November.

Whatever the reason, U.S. Rep. — and almost certain-to-be gubernatorial candidate — Josh Gottheimer (D-5th Dist.) celebrated the news.

“After a five-year fight, New York appears to have done right by hardworking Jersey families and backed off their outrageous congestion tax,” he said.

“Five years ago, I said that we would fight for Jersey families until the very end, and that’s exactly what we did. We threw the kitchen sink at New York — and then some — and got it done. Even when some said the fight was over, we kept going. Well, today, Jersey families, their wallets and the environment won big. As I always say, don’t mess with Jersey.”

It is uncertain if the idea will be brought back at a later date. However, due to the time it took to enact this version — nearly a decade — the early thought is that the idea is gone for good.

Gov. Phil Murphy, who filed a lawsuit in an effort to thwart the plan, certainly was magnanimous.

“I want to thank Gov. Hochul for pausing the implementation of congestion pricing in Manhattan’s Central Business District.

“Although we have had a difference of opinion with our colleagues in New York on congestion pricing implementation, we have always had a shared vision for growing our regional economy, investing in infrastructure, protecting our environment and creating good-paying jobs on both sides of the Hudson River. We fully embrace the notion that the success of Manhattan is inextricably linked to the prosperity of the entire tri-state area.

“Gov. Hochul and Mayor (Eric) Adams have been strong, collaborative governing partners and I look forward to continuing to work closely with them for the benefit of all of our residents.”

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco said the impact of killing the tax will be huge. He praised Hochul for her move.

“Thank you, Gov. Hochul, for listening to the concerns of residents and leaders from the greater New York metropolitan area,” he said. “It is evidently clear that congestion pricing is not a solution for relief, just merely a scheme to redirect negative environmental conditions a few miles away to Bergen County and other neighboring communities surrounding Manhattan.

“This is a major win for the people of Bergen County and all who do business in Manhattan.”

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce‘s Tom Bracken also was pleased by the turn of events.

“The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce applauds the apparent decision to indefinitely postpone New York City’s congestion pricing plan,” he said in a statement. “New Jersey’s residents and businesses would bear the brunt of congestion pricing at a time of already-rising costs. We remain steadfast in our opposition because it is bad for the state’s economy, especially for those that rely on regularly conducting business in New York City. We hope this decision become permanent.”

Now … about that SALT tax issue.