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HACKENSACK – Phil Murphy had some good news and then not much news at all during a brief meeting with reporters Wednesday at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
What the governor called a “big deal” was what he said was a “conceptual understanding” with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to give New Jersey residents a break on so-called congestion pricing.
The idea calls for putting an additional toll on vehicles entering the congestion zone from 60th Street south in Manhattan. From the outset, it was proposed to exclude New Jersey drivers using the Holland and Lincoln tunnels because they empty out into the congestion zone. So, motorists would not be charged twice.
But how about the George Washington Bridge, which brings traffic to north of midtown Manhattan?
Would those New Jersey drivers using the bridge also be excluded?
Not according to some original plans. But now they apparently will.
Murphy said the concept on which he and Cuomo agreed would treat motorists using the tunnels and the GWB equally.
But here’s the fine print. The plan still has about two years to go before it happens.
That’s not all bad.
Murphy said there is also agreement to give New Jersey a “seat at the table” while details are hammered out.
Last week, Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Bill Pascrell Jr., held a press conference overlooking the GWB to demand equal treatment for New Jersey drivers. Gottheimer also said that if congestion pricing targets New Jersey drivers unfairly, New Jersey should get a share of the revenue.
But Murphy said revenue sharing of that type was not part of the talks with Cuomo. New York says congestion pricing tolls would be used to benefit city subways.
The other issue raised was this week’s resignation of Lizette Delgado-Polanco as CEO of the Schools Development Authority.
The governor was tight-lipped on this one, refusing for instance to say if he regretted naming Delgado-Polanco to the job. His only comment was that he will name an interim CEO and “turn the page.”
The governor commented after meeting with more than two dozen local and state officials representing Bergen County to talk about the proposed state budget, which begins July 1. Murphy, in fact, spoke from the head of a T-shaped table with reporters assembled about 100 feet away.
The governor gave no details of the budget discussion.