Murphy to 1010 WINS: Not so hot on congestion pricing, optimistic on pot

April 03, 2019 - 12:58 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- One perceived benefit of living in New Jersey is ease of access to New York City.

That may be something that commuters are reconsidering in light of plans for congestion pricing in New York. The move would mean that commuters taking the George Washington Bridge, which Gov. Phil Murphy says 60 percent of commuters rely on, would pay twice.

“I got a big issue with making New Jersey commuters pay a double tax,” he said, “It’s gonna have to work for New Jersey commuters.”

He also wants to make sure New Jersey commuters are taken care of when they use mass transit to get into the city, citing the importance of the Gateway Tunnel project.

“I’ve gotta make sure New Jersey commuters are looked after,” he said.

It's not just New Jersey commuters who should be concerned about the Gateway, Murphy explained, 20 percent of the country's GDP depends on the northeast corridor.

Commuter concerns were among the issues Murphy discussed Wednesday, when he joined 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck for a Facebook live interview. He also touched on legal recreational pot, a cornerstone of his campaign for the governorship.

Plans for a vote on legal marijuana in the Garden State went up in smoke last week, but Murphy still thinks lawmakers can get it done.

RELATED: NJ could legalize weed Monday... or a historic vote could go up in smoke | Murphy, Menendez slam Cuomo's congestion pricing: It's 'on the backs of New Jerseyans' | Ex-Murphy official accused of sex assault wins court order

The bill for legalizing pot is attached to legislation that would expand New Jersey's medical marijuana program. Murphy says if the legislature doesn't pass the bill, he'll turn his immediate focus to expanding medical marijuana.

WEB EXTRA: Curious about legal pot in the Garden State? Checkout our High State Area series and get up to speed

“I’m prepared to hold off for a short amount of time, and I would say the month of May would be the edge of that,” Murphy said Thursday. “I’m still confident we can go on and get it done legislatively. I’m open-minded and supportive for the Legislature to go back at it and find those last few votes we couldn’t get. But it can’t be an unending calendar. We owe too much to the folks; in some cases, it’s a question of life or death.”

If the legislature doesn't get it done, Murphy told WINS he'll take matters into his own hands.

"We're going to have to make a move on that through executive action if we can't get it done legislatively," he said.

Expanding New Jersey's medical marijuana program would increase the number of dispensaries in the state and allow patients to buy more marijuana. The bills were packaged together because proponents hoped medical expansion would garner support for recreational pot, NJ Spotlight reports.

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said he does not plan to split the bills.

For his part Murphy says his administration is still committed to legalizing recreational pot and expects it to happen before the fall while acknowledging that progress comes in 'fits and starts.'

Recreational pot was expected to be a big revenue generator in a state where voters have been worried by rising property taxes.

Murphy acknowledged that while property taxes have been on the rise, the rate of increase has slowed -- still, the governor says that's not enough.

“I won’t be happy until we bend that curve and they start coming down” he told WINS.

He says it's about lowering costs while still maximizing benefits to New Jersey voters.

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