New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is defending the text message to state E-ZPass users that urged them to publicly comment against the MTA’s congestion pricing program proposal.

The message, which was sent this weekend and which made the rounds on social media, simply said congestion pricing “will increase cost and congestion for NJ drivers.” An expanded version on the New Jersey E-Z Pass website added the congestion pricing program “could significantly increase commuter costs, overburden our public transit systems, and cause congestion in North Jersey communities.”

The MTA is in the midst of public hearings over recently released details about the plan, which would charge drivers who enter Manhattan below 60th Street. Hundreds of people spoke at hearings last week and earlier this week. The plan is designed to discourage traffic into Manhattan while also generating revenue for the MTA's public transit infrastructure.

Murphy said three weeks ago that he “loved” the idea of congestion pricing — but didn’t want drivers from his state to be tolled on the bridges and tunnels and then again in the congestion zone. He struck a different tone on Monday.

“We didn’t inherit a good situation in either of the tunnels or the Port Authority Bus Terminal, so maybe it’s a good idea, but it’s an idea whose time has not come,” Murphy said at an unrelated event Monday.

The MTA is holding two more hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s doubtful that any of the public comments would prevent the long-planned program from being implemented entirely. But the MTA is considering seven different tolling options, which haven’t yet been finalized.

Most of the options include a toll credit to drivers who cross into Manhattan via the Holland or Lincoln tunnels.

The MTA’s lengthy environmental assessment found that traffic could be reduced by as much as 20% in Manhattan, with an increase in trucks and vehicles in the Bronx, and a very small increase in northern New Jersey.

The MTA found that 90% of commuters from New Jersey who enter the congestion zone during the morning commute do so via mass transit, not vehicles.

“It’s unfortunate that they’ve taken this tone,” Kate Slevin, executive vice president of the Regional Plan Association, a transit advocacy group, said. “Instead of talking about the merits of the policy and how to make it work for their state, they’ve taken these actions which we see as short sighted and inaccurate.”

Following the public hearings, the MTA will file its paperwork with federal officials for approval. The agency plans to have the program up and running by the end of next year or early 2024.