Just days before the deadline to get federal funding for congestion pricing, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine suddenly came out loudly in opposition to the plan.
This morning, WNYC’s Soterios Johnson asked Corzine if he had discussed congestion pricing with Michael Bloomberg before that time, and what led him to vocally oppose it so shortly before the deadline.
“We had long discussions with many people in the administration,” Corzine said. “And I with the mayor himself, and had no conceptual difference of view with regard to congestion pricing. In fact, New Jersey drivers today are paying that $8 price to come across the George Washington Bridge or come through the tunnels. We had, I thought, an agreement that there wouldn’t be any increase in congestion pricing beyond the $8, or, it would be offset by what we were already paying.
“At the last minute, there was a surcharge,” Corzine added, referring to the $1 billion that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would have been required to pay in order to offset the cost of discounting congestion pricing for New Jersey drivers, who already pay tolls.
“Unless there was a change in the capital plans of the Port Authority, it just wasn’t acceptable. Not the concept of congestion pricing, that’s really a decision that New Yorkers have to make. And I can understand why they want to improve the environmental quality of the air, and that’s fine.
“But when you’re going to discriminate against New Jersey drivers—as I said, we’re already paying $8, our people are paying congestion prices. It didn’t seem to be fair. And that was a last-minute change.”