MTA chairman and Chief Executive Officer Janno Lieber on March...

MTA chairman and Chief Executive Officer Janno Lieber on March 27, after the board its congestion pricing plan. Credit: Craig Ruttle

Two congestion pricing opponents in Congress introduced a bill Friday that would block federal money from funding the automotive transport of the MTA's leader — a move the transit agency dismissed as a “nonsensical” stunt.

The bill follows allegations from Rep. Anthony D'Esposito (R-Island Park) and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Fort Lee) that Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman and CEO Janno Lieber uses a government car, rather than the transit system, to get around, and would be exempt from the new congestion pricing tolls he’s pushing on other drivers. 

MTA officials disputed the assertions, saying Lieber takes the subway to work every day. Although he does not have one assigned to him, Lieber is occasionally transported in an MTA vehicle. But agency officials said those vehicles will not be exempt from the forthcoming tolls.

D'Esposito and Gottheimer on Thursday announced the bill, which seeks to “prohibit the use of federal funds for a passenger motor vehicle or a personal driver,” for Lieber, who has headed the transit authority since 2022. The bill was filed Friday morning, according to the elected representatives.

Gottheimer said the legislation came after he and D’Esposito “learned that Janno Lieber doesn’t even use his own mass transit system to get to work and to get around the city.” 

“Apparently, he uses a government vehicle, a car, to get around the city — the very thing his congestion tax, ironically, is aiming to get off the road,” Gottheimer said.

Asked for the basis of their claims about Lieber, D'Esposito said he and Gottheimer “heard from individuals … that he’s utilized a government-paid auto to be couriered around New York and New Jersey.”

MTA external communications chief John McCarthy, responding to what he called the “inaccurate and nonsensical” accusations, in a statement said Lieber “rides the transit system every single day and everybody knows that.”

MTA officials said Lieber’s OMNY account shows he “tapped in” to the transit system 600 times over a 12-month period ending on April 30. The transit chief frequently shares stories about riding the 4 or 5 train from downtown Brooklyn to his office near Bowling Green in lower Manhattan. He also occasionally rides the Long Island Rail Road, as he did last week for a press event in Copiague.

McCarthy said it’s Gottheimer — a leading opponent of congestion pricing — who “stays in his traffic-congesting chauffeured car doing nothing to improve transit in New Jersey.”

A Gottheimer spokesperson said it “is just like Janno and the MTA to … take pot shots, instead of taking some responsibility.”

The heated exchange is the latest dust-up in the ongoing feud between the MTA and elected officials opposing congestion pricing. Both Gottheimer and D’Esposito have supported lawsuits, including one recently filed by the Town of Hempstead, challenging the legality of the MTA’s Central Business District Tolling Program.

The first-in-the-nation congestion pricing plan would charge most vehicles $15 for driving below 60th Street in Manhattan beginning on June 30. MTA officials said the measure will reduce traffic, improve air quality, and support transit investments.

Gottheimer and D’Esposito said they want Lieber to testify before Congress about how the MTA has calculated the new tolls will generate $1 billion in revenue, suggesting the actual number is far higher.

Two congestion pricing opponents in Congress introduced a bill Friday that would block federal money from funding the automotive transport of the MTA's leader — a move the transit agency dismissed as a “nonsensical” stunt.

The bill follows allegations from Rep. Anthony D'Esposito (R-Island Park) and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Fort Lee) that Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman and CEO Janno Lieber uses a government car, rather than the transit system, to get around, and would be exempt from the new congestion pricing tolls he’s pushing on other drivers. 

MTA officials disputed the assertions, saying Lieber takes the subway to work every day. Although he does not have one assigned to him, Lieber is occasionally transported in an MTA vehicle. But agency officials said those vehicles will not be exempt from the forthcoming tolls.

D'Esposito and Gottheimer on Thursday announced the bill, which seeks to “prohibit the use of federal funds for a passenger motor vehicle or a personal driver,” for Lieber, who has headed the transit authority since 2022. The bill was filed Friday morning, according to the elected representatives.

Gottheimer said the legislation came after he and D’Esposito “learned that Janno Lieber doesn’t even use his own mass transit system to get to work and to get around the city.” 

“Apparently, he uses a government vehicle, a car, to get around the city — the very thing his congestion tax, ironically, is aiming to get off the road,” Gottheimer said.

Asked for the basis of their claims about Lieber, D'Esposito said he and Gottheimer “heard from individuals … that he’s utilized a government-paid auto to be couriered around New York and New Jersey.”

MTA external communications chief John McCarthy, responding to what he called the “inaccurate and nonsensical” accusations, in a statement said Lieber “rides the transit system every single day and everybody knows that.”

MTA officials said Lieber’s OMNY account shows he “tapped in” to the transit system 600 times over a 12-month period ending on April 30. The transit chief frequently shares stories about riding the 4 or 5 train from downtown Brooklyn to his office near Bowling Green in lower Manhattan. He also occasionally rides the Long Island Rail Road, as he did last week for a press event in Copiague.

McCarthy said it’s Gottheimer — a leading opponent of congestion pricing — who “stays in his traffic-congesting chauffeured car doing nothing to improve transit in New Jersey.”

A Gottheimer spokesperson said it “is just like Janno and the MTA to … take pot shots, instead of taking some responsibility.”

The heated exchange is the latest dust-up in the ongoing feud between the MTA and elected officials opposing congestion pricing. Both Gottheimer and D’Esposito have supported lawsuits, including one recently filed by the Town of Hempstead, challenging the legality of the MTA’s Central Business District Tolling Program.

The first-in-the-nation congestion pricing plan would charge most vehicles $15 for driving below 60th Street in Manhattan beginning on June 30. MTA officials said the measure will reduce traffic, improve air quality, and support transit investments.

Gottheimer and D’Esposito said they want Lieber to testify before Congress about how the MTA has calculated the new tolls will generate $1 billion in revenue, suggesting the actual number is far higher.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

Latest videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME