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New Jersey Strives to Prevent New York’s Congestion Pricing

Published: May 30, 2023
Cars enter Holland Tunnel from southern Manhattan in 2022. (Image: ajay_suresh/via Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

The state of New Jersey and New York City may end up in court over the issue of New York’s controversial — and so, far, convoluted — proposed congestion pricing plan for drivers entering Manhattan. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy stated that he would not give up on blocking the implementation of the congestion pricing plan, even if it requires legal action.

Owners of non-commercial passenger vehicles entering Manhattan can currently expect to pay between $10 and $15 per entry, depending on which crossing they use. The congestion fee would be applied on top of, or in overlap upon the base toll, but could be more or less depending on which version of the plan is adopted.

The “Congestion Pricing Plan” in New York City is set to be implemented as early as April 2024. Currently, federal officials have stated that they have decided to accept an environmental assessment and will not require further study. If the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) receives a “Finding of No Significant Impact,” they can proceed with the implementation plan.

In other words, once the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) confirms that there are no significant environmental impacts, a transportation advisory group will begin discussions on key details, such as who can be exempt from the congestion pricing fees.

The “Congestion Pricing Plan” sets seven different potential rates depending on which scenario is adopted, all of which would raise the toll price for entering Manhattan. The “Base Rate” is $9 during the peak hours from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., which applies to everyone and cannot be exempted. New Jersey commuters using the Hudson River crossings to enter the congestion zone below 60th Street would have to pay $26 per day, including tolls and congestion fees. Outside the specified hours, the base rate decreases to $7, and overnight it is $5.

The “Low Crossing Credit Plan” would reduce the burden to owners of non-commercial vehicles entering Manhattan during the peak hours. Traveling from New Jersey would incur combined toll and congestion fees of $31, but the credit plan reduces this to $14 between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

For New Jersey drivers entering Manhattan, the combined toll and congestion fees would be $31, but under the credit plan the toll would be reduced to $14.

During off-peak hours, the fee would be $11, and overnight it would be $7. The credit and exemptions do not apply during those periods.

The “High Crossing Credit Plan” charges $19 for non-commercial vehicles during peak hours from 6 am to 8 pm. Drivers using these crossings would have to pay $36, with $19 congestion fee minus a $17 credit for tolls, resulting in a remaining fee of $2. During off-peak hours and overnight, the fees would decrease to $14 and $10, respectively, and the credit and exemptions would not apply.