Home News Rep. Josh Gottheimer brings anti-congestion pricing message to MTA HQ

Rep. Josh Gottheimer brings anti-congestion pricing message to MTA HQ


Rep. Josh Gottheimer drove into Lower Manhattan on Wednesday to hold an anti-congestion pricing press conference outside of MTA headquarters.

The Bergen County, N.J. Democrat repeated his demands to see the math behind the transit agency’s decision to set a $15 base toll for motorists entering Midtown and lower Manhattan, and tried to hold an impromptu meeting with MTA chairman Janno Lieber.

“What was their math when they came up with $15 a day?” Gottheimer asked from a podium set up in front of the MTA’s offices at 2 Broadway.

The pol previously alleged that the toll will make the MTA well over its $1 billion-per-year goal — and that as a result Jersey residents should be completely exempt from New York’s congestion pricing plan.

As previously reported by the Daily News, Gottheimer’s office claims the MTA will reap more than $3.4 billion a year in congestion tolls.

The MTA calls the math preposterous.

“Congestion pricing is projected to deliver just under $1 billion per year to investments in mass transit infrastructure,” MTA’s external relations chief John McCarthy told The News in January, citing discounts, exemptions and time restrictions he said Gottheimer had failed to account for.

“It’s scary for Americans that this congestion-loving politician — who serves on the Financial Services committee in the United States Congress — clearly can’t count,” McCarthy quipped at the time.

Gottheimer slammed the agency Wednesday for failing to respond to a freedom-of-information request to see the math behind the tolling.

Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D - NJ), a vocal congestion pricing foe, held a press conference outside MTA headquarters Wednesday before attempting to drop in on MTA chairman Janno Lieber -- who was not in the building. (Evan Simko-Bednarski for New York Daily News)
Gottheimer was asked to wait some 15 minutes before being told that Lieber was not in the building. (Evan Simko-Bednarski for New York Daily News)

“We wanted their analysis of how they set the price at $15 a day,” he said. “The response on all fronts, to the emails, to the [Freedom of Information Law] requests — to everything — has been crickets.”

Gottheimer hoped to meet with Lieber directly to discuss the toll in an unannounced visit.

At the front desk, the congressman was asked to wait some 15 minutes before being told the MTA big was not in the building.

Gottheimer handed an unidentified MTA employee a note and left the building.

Transit brass dismissed the appearance as a stunt.

LIRR President Rob Free called Gottheimer’s schlep across the river a “good public show.”

“I’m just trying to understand why he didn’t take public transportation — New Jersey Transit — across the river, and use the MTA system,” he said.

Gottheimer, who arrived 15 minutes late to the press conference, was driven to and from MTA HQ in the back seat of an electric Ford Mustang Mach-E with New Jersey plates.

“We drove because we couldn’t find a bus,” the congressman said.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here