💲 MTA CEO Janno Lieber said the vote was one of the board's most significant

💲 Supporters say it will push people to use public transportation

💲 Gov. Phil Murphy calls it a "blatant cash grab"

The MTA Board of Directors approved its congestion pricing plan but New Jersey's leading opponents plan to keep up the fight.

The agenda for the meeting confirmed that commuter buses providing scheduled services, commuter vans and school buses contracted with the NYC Department of Education are exempt from the new fee as are NYC municipal vehicles.

The board did not change the previously announced $15 fee for passenger vehicles and passenger-type vehicles with commercial license plates south of 60th Street. The final vote was 11 to 1.

“Today’s vote is one of the most significant the Board has ever undertaken, and the MTA is ready,” MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said in a statement.

A tunnel crossing credit of $5 against the peak period toll rate would be provided to vehicles with E-ZPass entering through the four tolled entries that lead directly into the CBD: the Queens-Midtown, Hugh L. Carey, Holland, and Lincoln Tunnels. There is no discount offered to George Washington Bridge commuters.

Supporters of the new tolls say it will push more people to use public transport, reduce congestion to speed up public buses and emergency vehicles, reduce pollution, and raise money needed to improve the subway system.

ALSO READ: SUV gets trapped after driving down NJ Transit tracks

Congestion pricing prices
Congestion pricing prices (Canva)

Murphy, Gottheimer keep up the fight

Gov. Phil Murphy called the plan a "blatant cash grab" and said the fight to stop the MTA from violating the law by balancing its budget on the backs of New Jersey commuters.

"We will continue to avail ourselves of every option in order to protect residents on this side of the Hudson from an unfair tolling scheme that discriminates against New Jerseyans, especially lower and middle-income drivers," Murphy said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. 5th District, said the MTA's vote was a "rubber stamp" that ignored those who testified against the plan during public hearings. There was also testimony in favor of the plan.

"From the NAACP to nurses to teachers to law enforcement to small businesses, families from across the Tri-state area have spoken in unison: please don’t raise our taxes. Please don’t pollute our children. Please don’t force through the Congestion Tax. MTA CEO Janno Lieber and the MTA had one response: go fly a kite. Well, Janno, we’re not backing down. Buckle up for the lawsuits and the public outrage, because no one messes with Jersey.”

The plan will take effect “in or about June 2024,” according to the agenda.

Its implementation is pending the settlement of several lawsuits including one from New Jersey. A separate suit was brought by Fort Lee Mayor Mark J. Sokolich, Staten Island borough President Vito Fossella, the United Federation of Teachers and two groups of New York City residents.

The New York Times reported that a hearing is scheduled for April 3 and 4.

ALSO READ: Huge #1.13 billion Mega Millions jackpot won in NJ

The MTA Board votes to adopt votes on its congestion pricing plan 3/27/24
The MTA Board votes to adopt votes on its congestion pricing plan 3/27/24 (Marc A. Hermann/MTA)

(Includes material copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Report a correction 👈 | 👉 Contact our newsroom

Solar eclipse mania! What NJ sungazers need to know for April 8, 2024

Gallery Credit: Dan Zarrow

Battleship New Jersey is towed for maintenance

The USS New Jersey left its dock in Camden on its way to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for extensive maintenance work on March 21, 2024. The vessel, guided by tugboats, will first head to the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, where it will be balanced to prepare for dry docking.

Gallery Credit: Dan Alexander

The best-selling Easter candies in America - Ranked

Instacart looked at data leading up to the 2022 Easter holiday season to see which candies were the most popular across the nation, as well as which candies were top-sellers in each state. Here are those results.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

More From Cat Country 107.3