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Congressman Josh Gottheimer requests MTA information on congestion pricing calculations

N.J. congressman submits FOIL request for MTA congestion pricing information
N.J. congressman submits FOIL request for MTA congestion pricing information 02:14

FORT LEE, N.J. -- A New Jersey congressman is taking an unusual move under the law and requesting the MTA turn over information on how it came up with its congestion pricing calculations.

"Everything at the MTA is a black box," Congressman Josh Gottheimer said Thursday.

Gottheimer, surrounded by Fort Lee's mayor and a Bergen County state senator, is waging a war on the MTA.

"The MTA is the worst-run mass transit system in the United States of America," he said.

The congressman is demanding to know why the MTA is billions of dollars in debt as it gets billions from the federal government and why it wants to charge drivers going into Manhattan below 60th Street an additional $15.

"Last month, my office submitted an official Freedom of Information Law, or FOIL, request to the MTA to provide any emails and documents containing the data, calculations and discussions that went into their congestion tax projections," Gottheimer said.

Gottheimer says a report by his office finds the MTA will raise over $3 billion a year from congestion pricing -- $2 billion more, he says, than the New York state legislature requires them to generate.

MTA Chief of Policy and External Relations John J. McCarthy fought back, saying, "While the MTA dramatically increased service while cutting its budget, Gridlock Gottheimer hasn't lifted a finger to fix his NJ Transit's service problems and collapsing financial situation. So much for being a problem solver."

A Gottheimer spokesperson responded to the MTA's statement, saying, "Really? Gottheimer helped negotiate, write, and pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which includes $4.5 billion for New Jersey mass transit. Sounds like solving problems to me."

Drivers tell CBS New York they've had enough.

"Look at me. I'm raising all of these kids here and taking care of everybody, and now I gotta pay, like, to cross tolls and go downtown. I've been working in Manhattan my whole life. This is ridiculous," general contractor Tommy Polihronopoylos said.

"It's extremely unfair to be honest," New York City resident Kevin Alberto said.

"We are going to fight this right to the end," New Jersey State Sen. Gordon Johnson said.

Gottheimer says the MTA has to respond within 30 days, and when he gets the information, he'll share it with the public.

Fort Lee's mayor, along with the Bergen County executive and state, have filed lawsuits trying to stop congestion pricing.

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