Tuesday, April 23

Board approves first-of-its-kind NYC traffic pricing program as Democratic lawmaker vows to sue

New York’s Metro Transportation Authority (MTA) voted to impose a first-in-the-nation traffic congestion pricing program on Wednesday.

The MTA will now charge $15 for vehicles driving in certain areas of the city. The move, which passed on an 11-1 vote, outraged Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., who argues the new policy is nothing more than a “cash grab.”

“Today’s vote was just a rubber stamp on the MTA’s unprecedented cash grab. It just proves what we knew all along — the MTA doesn’t care about less traffic, helping the environment, or supporting families. They will do anything to cover their historic mismanagement — and the billions of dollars they bleed out every year. Today, they ignored the voices of tens of thousands of families who begged them to do the right thing,” Gottheimer said in a Wednesday statement.

“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,” he added.

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Protesters attending Wednesday’s meeting shouted down proceedings just prior to the vote, demanding that the MTA at least create exemptions for yellow cab drivers, according to ABC News.

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The MTA hailed Wednesday’s vote as “historic” in a statement on social media, arguing the plan will “reduce traffic in Manhattan’s central business district, reduce pollution, and provide critical funding for transit improvements.”

“The vote follows an extensive outreach period—with tens of thousands of people weighing in through comments and at public hearings—and the FHWA’s Finding of No Significant Impact. We are grateful to those who took the time to share their views,” the MTA added.

The MTA crackdown on private vehicles comes as the city has struggled to ensure the safety of its public transportation systems.

The New York National Guard were called in to monitor subway stations earlier this month as a surge in crime threatened commuters.

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On Monday, a deranged criminal with a long rap sheet shoved a 54-year-old man onto the tracks in Harlem, with the victim then being struck by an oncoming train, according to police. There were also three stabbings across the subway system on the same day.

New York City also deployed 800 additional police officers to patrol the subway system, even after the boost in security from the National Guard.

Fox News’ Michael Dorgan contributed to this report

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