💲 Another lawsuit has been filed against New York's congestion pricing plan

💲 A Fort Lee resident with asthma is a defendant in the suit

💲 The MTA says congestion pricing needs to move forward

FORT LEE — Mayor Mark Sokolich and a borough resident have filed a lawsuit that aims to put a stop to plans that would charge certain commuters more than $20 a day to travel through New York City.

The suit filed on Wednesday names the MTA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other parties, arguing that a so-called congestion tax will result in more traffic nearby, increasing toxic air pollution in the North Jersey region.

"We're being asked to sacrifice, potentially, our lives and our health," Sokolich said. "It's not fair. We're being disregarded, we're being ignored."

Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich announcing a new lawsuit to stop NY’s Congestion Tax. (Rep. Gottheimer's Office)
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich announcing a new lawsuit to stop NY’s Congestion Tax. (Rep. Gottheimer's Office)

Beyond seeking an immediate stop to the congestion pricing plan, the lawsuit calls for a full environmental study that includes potential impacts on the Garden State.

“My doctor explained to me that when air pollution is increased, it is like adding a cigarette to your day,” said plaintiff Richard Galler, who suffers from asthma.

What is the congestion pricing plan?

New York's proposal could charge up to $23 per day during peak hours to motorists traveling below 60th Street. The proposal, which could take effect as early as May 2024, has the federal government's approval.

It's expected that truckers and other motorists will "go around the city" and take the George Washington Bridge into New York City in order to avoid the extra charge, said U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. 5th District, who joined Sokolich and other officials to announce the new lawsuit.

"Trucks will be backed up here at the G.W. Bridge as far as the eye can see, billowing cancer-causing pollution in the lungs of children and families in our communities," Gottheimer said.

New Jersey has already filed a lawsuit against the feds in order to block the plan that aims to curb traffic and pollution in the busy Manhattan district.

MTA responds to New Jersey rhetoric

In response to the latest announcement out of Fort Lee, John McCarthy, chief of policy and external relations for MTA, said Gottheimer just wants to send more traffic and more pollution to New York.

"News flash: Manhattan is already full of vehicles, and we don’t need more carbon emissions," McCarthy said in an emailed statement to New Jersey 101.5. "So congestion pricing needs to move forward for less traffic, safer streets, cleaner air and huge improvements to mass transit.”

Bruce Nagel, the attorney who filed the class-action lawsuit on Wednesday, said he's very confident that the lawsuit will result in an injunction and put at least a temporary stop to the congestion pricing plan.

If the plan moves forward, Nagel said, the lawsuit asserts that defendants establish a fund in order to monitor the medical conditions of those impacted by the move, and to fund medical costs that will be incurred because of increased traffic volume.

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