Borough President Vito Fossella announced that he is laying the foundation for a lawsuit against the entities responsible for the implementation of congestion pricing.
“We're here to stand up and be the voice of many across Staten Island, and I believe across the state, and not to mention the region, to put the brakes on the so-called congestion pricing plan,” said Borough President Fossella during a press conference on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk in South Beach –- the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in the background. “We say so-called because we believe congestion pricing is really a fancy way of calling this plan what it really is and that’s a ‘driving tax’ on individuals who already paid to build and maintain the roads.”
His announcement was made following a lawsuit filed by New Jersey against the U.S. Department of Justice on Friday. He spoke with Randy Mastro, the attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
“We hope that New Jersey is successful in its efforts, regardless we plan to bring our own lawsuit to address this congestion pricing plan,” he said.
The congestion pricing plan will cost drivers between $9 to $23 to enter Manhattan below 60th Street and is expected to generate $15 billion over four years for MTA improvements.
“As many of you know, we don’t even have a subway system,” said Borough President Fossella. “So, here we are a car-dependent community that has been left out of every major decision the MTA has laid out over the last 50-plus years and now we’re forced to pay another toll."
He said residents of Staten Island, as well Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, “will be treated as tourists in this city and not as equal citizens.” The “driving tax” also comes with negative environmental impacts, he said, citing a federal government report that states “the air quality will get worse as a result of this plan.”
“You’d have to be a first-class idiot to support any plan that intentionally hurts your neighbors, and your constituents, both from a financial and environmental perspective,” said Borough President Fossella.