💲The MTA refuses to show Rep. Josh Gottheimer their financial books

💲Gottheimer contends the agency has squandered its funds

💲The MTA says Gottheimer should worry more about NJ Transit's issues

Rep. Josh Gottheimer continued to pound away at why New York City's congestion pricing plan should not go forward by requesting documents showing how the MTA has spent its funds.

The Democrat contends congestion pricing will raise $3.4 billion for the MTA which is higher than the $1 billion New York state Legislature required them to generate. The agency denied Gottheimer's contention and became "incredibly defensive" but would not willingly provide the documentation.

"At that annual revenue level, the MTA wouldn’t need a nickel from Jersey drivers — they could still raise $1.4 billion without whacking drivers with the Congestion Tax who use the George Washington Bridge and the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels," Gottheimer said Thursday.

"In other words, since the revenue will all go to be used to clean up the mess at New York’s woefully mismanaged MTA, New York should pay for it themselves – and not lay their problems at our feet."

As a last resort, Gottheimer says he filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request  to force the release of the MTA's figures.

The reaction from the MTA is not unexpected by Gottheimer who said they don't want anyone to see their true financial situation. During a media briefing in Fort Lee with state Sen. Gordon Johnson, D-Bergen, and Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich he compared the MTA's spending to a "bottomless black box."

"They have a $19 multi-billion-dollar budget and $47 billion in outstanding debt. They just don’t want anyone to see the extent of their mismanagement and wasteful spending," Gottheimer said.

Funds received by the MTA and spent, according to research by Rep. Josh Gottheimer.
Funds received by the MTA and spent, according to research by Rep. Josh Gottheimer. (Rep. Josh Gottheimer)

MTA: Worry about NJ Transit

John J. McCarthy, MTA Chief for Policy and External Relations said Gottheimer should worry more about NJ Transit's problems and accused him of doing nothing to solve funding issues that are leading to a 15% fare increase slated to take effect July 1. McCarthy also blamed Gottheimer for the Hudson-Bergen Line not being extended to Fort Lee.

"While the MTA was completing the Second Avenue Subway, Grand Central Madison, East Side Access, ADA upgrades across the subway system and state-of-the-industry signaling on the L and 7 lines, Rep. Gottheimer complains about New York’s progress while failing to get transit done on his own side of the river," McCarthy said.

Rep. JoshGottheimer looking into the MTA’s "Black Box"
Rep. JoshGottheimer looking into the MTA’s "Black Box" (Rep. Josh Gottheimer)

Legal bumps in the road for the MTA

The MTA is moving forward with plans to implement congestion pricing by late spring and will begin public comment on Feb. 29.  However, a lawsuit by New Jersey aimed at preventing it from taking effect is having an effect, The agency told CBS New York it has halted handing out contracts for planned projects pending a legal outcome.

The projects, which include extending the Second Avenue Subway to East Harlem
and installing new switches on the A train, are to be funded by the revenues generated by congestion pricing.

Lawsuits are also pending from Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, a group of Lower East Side residents and the United Federation of Teachers which represents New York City teachers

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