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Congestion Pricing Will ‘Rip the Eyes Out of New Jersey Commuters’ Says Extremely Normal and Proportionate Guy NJ Governor Phil Murphy

We tried listening to an interview with the New Jersey governor, and have translated his going "wah wah wah" to English for you.

9:55 AM EDT on August 16, 2023

NJ Governor Phil Murphy, you mad? (Hell Gate)

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy appeared on WNYC on Tuesday night for his monthly "Ask the Governor" segment, where WNYC reporters and callers can ask him questions about the Garden State. (Former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio used to do this weekly, while Eric Adams is instead pursuing his own, strange media ventures and mostly ignoring public media.)

While there was no specific topic for the night's program, questions veered towards the state's climate goals. For the first fifty minutes of the hour-long program, Murphy assumed the posture of a climate champion, calling out Republican opposition to green initiatives, touting a transition to energy-saving appliances, and staking his governorship to the development of offshore wind projects. That is, until the subject of New York City's congestion pricing plan came up. Then, Murphy, who's suing the federal government over the program, ditched the green talk—and saw red. 

"I put our environmental record up against anybody, this [has] got two or three elements that are unacceptable," Murphy said of congestion pricing. One element he objected to? That the MTA is using the toll program to raise money, which to Murphy means that it's not really an environmental program. 

Of course, Murphy, who is a smart guy, is deliberately ignoring the fact that the revenue that will be generated is going to the MTA's capital program, with the goal of increasing and expanding mass transit in New York City, as well as taking more polluting cars off our roads. 

Murphy then went on to say another element he disagreed with was that the tolls would "rip the eyes out of New Jersey commuters" (???) and also lead to congestion around the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey (which we all know is currently such a non-congested bucolic vision).

At one point during the interview, Murphy did (mostly) give up the game, saying that New Jersey commuters are not being given a choice, because New York hasn't given them the "infrastructure that they deserve." Which, again, is the ABSOLUTE VERY THING THAT THIS PROGRAM AIMS TO FUND, BOZO. 

Murphy then told a big, bold lie—that the federal government and the MTA, which delayed the project three years to do a review of the impacts of the program on traffic as far away as Philadelphia, was rushing this project through. 

"Getting this jammed down our throat is unacceptable, so there," Murphy said. 

Of course, all of this is mostly bluster from the New Jersey governor to try to provide political cover for a Hail Mary lawsuit that aims to take New York's control of its roadways away from it. New Jersey is hoping that a federal judge finds it all persuasive enough to slam the brakes on the program, at least long enough for the merits of New York's program to be litigated in court, tying it up potentially for years. For Murphy, this is politics—New Jersey drivers hate the idea of congestion pricing. But they're not the majority of people who trek into the city from the Garden State: 78 percent of New Jersey commuters into Manhattan below 60th Street take mass transit.

Phil Murphy is just being an asshole. We would be too if we were the term-limited governor of a state whose football teams are so ashamed of it, they're known by the state next door. 

Some links about a much greater state than New Jersey: 

  • The arrival of migrants in New York City has now united politicians across the political spectrum in demanding more money from the state and federal government to help pay for the costs of housing asylum seekers. At a rally in Brooklyn yesterday, spearheaded by Borough President Antonio Reynoso and the left flank of the city's politicos, Mayor Eric Adams made a late-breaking appearance to join in the calls for action, and even conservative state legislator Lester Chang got into the mix. "You probably won't see this combination of folks again on an issue," Public Advocate Jumaane Williams admitted. Meanwhile, Governor Kathy Hochul sent Mayor Adams a sternly worded letter blasting his administration's handling of migrants. 
  • Efforts to reform the Queens County Democratic Party have pretty much stalled out and it's back to business as usual.
  • A Connecticut doctor was allegedly kidnapped after leaving Brooklyn Mirage, the Brooklyn venue where two other partygoers recently turned up dead soon after leaving the club. 
  • NYPD leaders are telling officers to chill out on chasing people with police vehicles, after multiple NYPD car chases have led to injuries of bystanders. This year has seen police pursuits by vehicle increase by over 600 percent. This directive is already having an impact
  • NY Attorney General Letitia James recovered $300,000 in wages that were improperly withheld from nail salon workers in 25 salons across New York City. 
  • A new tent shelter for migrants has opened up in deep Queens, despite community opposition. Cots there are head-to-toe, which besides being uncomfortable, definitely aren't up to the City's code on housing for homeless people. 
  • New York's legal weed rollout is once again mired in the courts
  • Norman Seabrook, the former head of the city's correction officers union, just got out of prison and is looking for a job. Maybe he can hit up his unindicted co-conspirator friend
  • And finally…sure.
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