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MTA's congestion pricing proposal prompting strong reaction in the the suburbs

Drivers in the suburbs sound off on congestion pricing plan
Drivers in the suburbs sound off on congestion pricing plan 03:15

ORANGEBURG, N.Y. -- The MTA says about 7 percent of people who work in Manhattan's Central Business District drive in from the suburbs. 

That's still tens of thousands of people, so the details of the congestion pricing plan are causing sticker shock in suburban counties. 

As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Wednesday, Rockland County has a long history of feeling ignored by the MTA. 

"The MTA is happy to take our money but loathe to provide us service, which is both insulting and disrespectful to the people of Rockland," said Rockland County Executive Ed Day. 

Metro-North service in the county is actually provided by NJ TRANSIT, and there's no "one seat ride." Riders transfer in Secaucus to get to New York Penn. 

Local leaders say the congestion pricing plan must bring Rockland tangible benefits. 

"The MTA and New Jersey Transit need to increase express rail service for this community," said State Assemblyman Mike Lawler. 

Lawler wants to repeal congestion pricing, but that's unlikely. So he wants the lowest possible fee, with credits for bridge and tunnel tolls, and exemptions for first responders commuting to work. 

New report breaks down cost of congestion pricing for drivers 03:26

The highest congestion fee in the MTA study is $23. Some wonder if that is a number designed to shock. 

Click here for more information on the plan from the MTA

"Twenty-three dollars? Come on... that's too much," one person said. 

Frank Borelli is Rockland's representative on the MTA board. 

"People tell you the worst case scenario, and then when the lower scenario happens, you feel better about it. I can't tell you that's what they're doing," Borelli said. 

Across the state line, the MTA says pre-pandemic, about 13,000 Bergen County residents drove to the Manhattan Central Business District for work, and many are unhappy about paying an additional fee. 

"Seems like they're always hurting the working man just trying to make a living," said Northvale resident George Christiano. 

"The value of congestion pricing is clear: Less traffic, reduced pollution and more reliable mass transit used by the vast majority of commuters, including those in Rockland County, who take trains and buses to the City. That's a win for the entire region," said MTA Communications Director Tim Minton.

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