Watch CBS News

NYC congestion pricing target of Long Island lawsuit. Here's why the new tolls may be illegal.

Hempstead files federal lawsuit in attempt to stop congestion pricing
Hempstead files federal lawsuit in attempt to stop congestion pricing 02:11

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- The controversial New York City congestion pricing tolls set to start June 30 are facing another lawsuit, this time from Long Island. 

Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin argues the $15 toll on most drivers entering Manhattan's Central Business District (below 60th Street) is an unfair burden on suburban commuters. 

"This is an unfair tax on people who are going to work," said Clavin, announcing a federal lawsuit against the MTA and Federal Highway Administration. 

Over 700,000 people drive from Long Island to the city every day. 

Lawsuit alleges an illegal tax 

The lawsuit alleges the tolling system amounts to an illegal tax that treats classes of people differently for the same activity. 

"This isn't a Republican issue. This isn't a Democrat issue. This is a hard-working New Yorker issue," said U.S. Rep. Anthony D'Esposito, a Republican whose district includes Hempstead. 

"That is going to impact residents who travel for work or meetings," said Clavin. "These are firefighters, these are teachers, these are first responders, but it's also people who go to the city to seek medical attention." 

Long Island commuters said congestion pricing will be an added expense.

"If I have to pay another $15 on top of the parking, then that just makes it ridiculous," said Barbie Standler. 

Congestion pricing basically a done deal

While the MTA says congestion pricing is basically a done deal, Hempstead officials hope their lawsuit and others like it can put a stop to it. 

"Congestion pricing has been through a comprehensive and thorough analysis to the tune of about 4,000 pages submitted to the federal government meeting all deadlines and requirements as such, and thus far has been approved," said Long Island Rail Road President Rob Free. 

The MTA announced a 10% discount on monthly LIRR and Metro-North passes will be available to riders who live in the five boroughs after congestion pricing starts. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.