On Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced plans, along with fellow New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), to urge the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) to reverse course on the Port Authority's proposal to eliminate the carpool toll discount on the George Washington Bridge (GWB) starting in January 2020.
The Port Authority has stated carpool rates must be eliminated due to new cashless tolling camera technology, which will not be able to capture how many people are actually in a vehicle. However, the technology exists and is used in California, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Gottheimer and Pascrell released a letter on Monday to the Port Authority Chair requesting they explore technology to allow for carpool rates to remain intact with cashless tolling and to pause plans to eliminate the current carpool rate.
Every day, 289,000 people drive in and out of Manhattan over the George Washington Bridge from northern New Jersey. Without the incentive for drivers to carpool, this will increase traffic, lengthen commutes, increase emissions, and increase cost to New Jersey residents.
“Eliminating the carpool rate will cost New Jersey residents thousands of dollars a year in new tolls, add a ton of new cars onto the bridge, and create more air pollution, "Rep. Gottheimer said. That’s a lose-lose-lose for absolutely everyone. It just doesn’t make any sense...I hope Port Authority will reconsider their decision,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer.
"People are going to be paying more to be stuck in traffic longer and will end up breathing in more pollution. Getting rid of this program makes absolutely no sense because New Jersey has some of the worst air quality in the nation,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This is an important issue for commuters and for people who care about clean air. We should be expanding carpool incentives instead of taking them away.”