June 22, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
A version of the controversial “Move NY” transportation plan, which would redistribute tolls among the City’s bridges and crossings, was introduced in the State Senate earlier this month with a slightly lower Queensboro Bridge fare than has been previously proposed.
“Move NY” has been a subject of debate since it was formally proposed by a coalition of transportation advocates in February 2015; it was introduced as a bill in the State Assembly by Member Robert Rodriguez of Manhattan this past March.
Rodriguez’s bill would add a toll to East River bridges, including the Queensboro, of $5.54 with E-ZPass or $8 without. These numbers are matched with the tolls at the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn-Battery) Tunnel. In contrast the Senate legislation, introduced by State Sen. Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, proposes a $5 Queensboro toll with E-ZPass.
The plan also involves discounting other major bridges that are currently tolled, including the Triborough/RFK, by up to 48 percent.
Advocates of the Move NY plan believe that this “toll swap” would be more fair for drivers on the Triborough/RFK and other tolled bridges, who have fewer transportation alternatives. Meanwhile, they charge that it would de-incentivize the Queensboro Bridge, therefore reducing congestion and pollution around Queens Plaza.
The primary promised benefit of the overall plan is that millions of new dollars in revenue would be created, which would then go towards improving New York City’s public transit and transportation infrastructure.
Lanza said that his bill will create $1.31 billion annually in new revenue, down from $1.35 billion promised by the Assembly version.
The Senate is out of session and Lanza said in a press release that he will take the summer to work with Rodriguez to reconcile the differences between their two bills.
Move NY Campaign Director Alex Matthiessen said that another issue to be clarified is what exactly the East River bridge toll reduction will be for non-E-ZPass users.
“I’m pleased that Assemblyman Rodriguez’s bill and my bill are very close and I look forward to working with him in the coming months to marry the two bills and do the work needed to pass the bills in both houses,” Lanza said in a statement.
The Move NY plan has long been contentious in Queens, due largely to the fact that so many neighborhoods have limited access to public transportation.
In western Queens, State Sen. Jose Peralta has voiced his support for the plan and is a co-sponsor on Lanza’s bill; State Sen. Gianaris has not stated a position and is “skeptical,” a spokesperson said in March.
In the Assembly, Member Aravella Simotas has said she is “not sure that this proposal gets us where we want to go.”
Simotas nor her colleague Assembly Member Cathy Nolan immediately responded to request for comment Wednesday.
Based on the today’s political climate in the borough, city, and state levels, I will be realistically not surprised that this plan will not go through anytime soon.
continued…TAX the corporations 1 to 2% and that should be more than enough. Listen to the public for once!!!!!!!!! We don’t want tolls on our FREE BRIDGES!!!!!!!!!! listen to the commenters on this site such as Dana & JC & myself, WE DON”T WANT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Move out the Move NY Plan….PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
continued… Put a TAX on corporations maybe 1 to 2% and you should have enough. Listen to the Public for once. We DON”T WANT IT!!!!!!!!!! We want to keep our FREE BRIDGES FREE!!!!!!!!!!!! Listen to the commenters like Dana & JC and myself. It is very expensive already to live in NYC, let’s not make it more expensive to live here. Move Out the Move NY Plan .
The 7 line signals were upgraded and it still is plagued with problems. The MTA shuts the 7 down practically every weekend, just ask the small business owners on Vernon Blvd. What happened to the dedicated money stream plan with taxi cabs if I am right. Where is that money? Put a TAX on the wealthy Alex as they have so many loopholes to pay less than the average working stiff.
Continued. .. New Yorkers don’t need to pay more for anything Alex. You don’t seem to understand that. What is FREE now should remain FREE. The rich have so many tax loopholes if they were eliminated we would have more than enough for the MTA. There was a dedicated revenue stream for the MTA put on before with Taxi’s or something like that, where is that money now? In some MTA or State or City Politician’s pocket. NYC And State is very corrupt Alex. Watch the news everyday and some other Politician is being indicted.
Dana and JC say what most New Yorkers want. You forgot to mention TAXING THE WEALTHY to raise revenue. By the way the 7 train had signal upgrades and it still has many signal delays. I would not trust any oversight of the MTA as being honest. Move NY plan is not an option, sorry Alex,
This will be the last straw. If they institute a toll on Queensboro bridge, I am out of here.
The East River bridges have tremendous meaning to us, New Yorkers. They belong to us and their construction, such as in the case of the Brooklyn Bridge, helped transform our great city into what it is today. Another great meaning that they have for us is that they are free. In a city that is deeply unaffordable to most of its citizens, through high taxes, rents, fees, and tolls we have to pay just to leave our city, and it is enormously meaningful that those great NY bridges remain free to travel. Are we willing to give up those remaining free bridges, so full of meaning to us, in order to pour money into an inefficient, bloated agency? I don’t think so, and elections are coming up!
p.s. Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature have to come up with $7.3 billion by next year just to cover the remaining gap in the MTA’s 2015-19 capital plan, let alone money for the next capital plan budget starting in 2020. The capital plans not only pay for big projects like 2nd Ave subway but to upgrade the subway signaling system, allowing more trains to move, meaning less crowded and delayed trains.*
Currently, there are no options on the table that will enable them to do that EXCEPT the Move NY Fair Plan, which not only helps raise new revenue needed, but also would significantly reduce traffic inside and outside the CBD while creating a fairer tolling system for everyone — not one where some drivers pay through the nose and others pay nothing at all. Your suggestion of increasing the registration fees on drivers not only would not raise the revenue needed but would penalize all the NYers outside the MTA region (i.e., upstate NY) who don’t benefit from the MTA system. Ditto with a gas tax increase which would have to be applied at least across the MTA’s 12-county region to raise the money needed and even then would have to be over a $1 a gallon and again would penalize those drivers out in Suffolk and Dutchess Cty who rarely use the MTA but use their cars to move around locally. Believe me, we’ve looked at every option and this one is the fairest and creates the most benefits for the most people of them all. And the so-called downside is simply asking folks who pay $0 year after year — while (as you say) tolls and fares on everyone else go up and up — to pay their fair share.
* The Move NY Fair Plan, recognizing that the 2nd Ave subway doesn’t do anything for Queens, Brooklyn or SI, establishes a $4.5B Transit Gap Investment Fund to bring new service to underserved areas in those non-Manhattan boroughs. Again, this is a serious problem for the outer boroughs and but for a plan like Move NY, these transit deserts will remain just that.
Oh, a plan. Move NY fair plan, transit gap? Oh, please my heart. A plan for a gap as long and wide as the great plains, and we have a gap fund establishing itself, after sucking the dollars and small change from the pockets of citizens with the nerve and temerity to want to visit a borough, over one century old (antique definition, by the way) bridge and one also nearing that mark. Queens and Brooklyn are not out of state bridges, as Staten Island’s is, for transit of those coming from all over the country.
Give Staten Islanders a break by scanning their plates and lowering their tolls, as in-city toll payers. Up out of state tolls, and fix the influx of drivers from Long Island using Queens as a cheap alternative. Creatively, parking-to-transit require real effort, for these beknoghted commuters,with a mich bigger impact for pollution abatement.
Bet the Federal government would kick in. Do something, don’t dun and harass.
Get going with the good, not the blood sucking.
MRLIC, I certainly understand your legitimate frustrations with the MTA. But I’m not sure what you’re suggesting. Like it or not, the MTA needs money to run, maintain and expand the system to accommodate not only the crowds we already have but the additional 800,000 people/riders the city will be receiving in the next fifteen years. Without it, the system and all the problems you cite are only going to get worse. Could the MTA be better run? No doubt it could stand some improvements but this is an opportunity to come up with practical ways to do that and to impose them as a condition for the MTA receiving more money. The Senate bill Senator Lanza introduced recently includes an annual audit for the MTA’s operations which should uncover the cause and solution for solving some of the problems you’ve highlighted. But it seems you’re suggesting that we just stop funding the MTA and/or continue doing what e’re doing which clearly isn’t working.
Continued… All this in one week. Tolls will hurt people more than help. How about raising car registration $1.50 as NJ should do instead of raising their gas tax. Put a tax on the wealthy as Brooklyn NY is #1 in USA as most unaffordable place to live and Queens is # 9 in the USA . Manhattan not in top 10, Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
continued… All of their projects are delayed and over budget. Their buses bunch up many times and you won’t see one for 30 min.or more. My wife this week alone had a driver go 3 stops in Bklyn on B62 and said he is going out of service before end of route, which was about 6 stops to finish. She waited 40 min. for another bus in the evening as one passed by without stopping. She is sending a complaint to MTA with Bus #. On the 7 line there was a stalled train last Sat eve and Signal problems Thurs. morn.
MoveNY should Move out of NYC. We all know these TOLLS will eventually go up and up and up. MTA is a terribly wasteful Authority such as NYCHA and the Port Authority. Cuomo should put the Kibosh on this idea fast. The 2nd Ave subway had a concrete floor done by contractors and the MTA told them to rip it up because the color was wrong.
Thanks to everyone for engaging in this important debate. As the director of the Move NY campaign, let me respond to a few of the comments. First, this is not a car-hating plan. The simple proposition is “It’s fine if you want to drive in the city (though like the other commenter, I’m not sure why anyone would want to on a regular basis), but you should pay for the cost of maintaining the city’s transportation infrastructure like everyone else (except cyclists and pedestrians) who travel into the city’s central business district (CBD). If everyone — not just transit riders and drivers who use the less congested outer bridges in typically transit-challenged areas — paid their fair share, the whole system would work better. Second, revenue is lockboxed in a number of ways and will go to transit, roads and bridges and nowhere else. Third, it’s true that transit options are limited in still too many parts of the city but that is not going to change until and unless we find a new source of revenue to bring new service to those areas. That’s precisely what the MNY plan will do with its Transit Gap Investment Fund of $4.5 billion. Unless you all have a better idea, this is our best chance in a generation to right that wrong. Finally, the plan is specifically designed to protect and help small commercial businesses who rely on their trucks to get into and around the CBD: commercial vehicles are capped at only one roundtrip toll per day, regardless of how many trips into and out of the CBD they make. Bottom line: the state’s leading motorists and trucker associations (AAA and NYS Motor Truck Association) have expressed support for the plan despite having opposed every previous tolling plan over the last forty years. That should tell you a lot about whether this plan is in fact good or bad for drivers.
We already pay dearly for for our city’s transportation costs. We are already taxed and tolled to death in NYC. And why should cyclists be exempt from tolls but only car drivers? Do they occupy a superior citizenship to everyone else? Demographically, they tend to be better off financially. So, based on your logic, the many NYC residents who live in the many areas not served by public transport should be tolled for 20 years until the public transport is built in their areas. Why don’t you first try raising your money from Wall Street or the multi million Dollar condo owners? They can afford it.
Just for arguments sake, the cigarette money, $5.85 cents per pack, was supposed to be lock boxed as well. The box gets raided regularly.
Mayor Bloomberg began this debate. Without fail an elitist, Matthiessen continues hisinability to empathize with other than the ultra wealthy. Ensnaring drivers/truckers (via the easily bought AAA and an owner’s association) does not acknowledge the polloution resulting in delays as people buy their way out of their “inferior” borough. Queens and Brooklyn residents mean less, pay more, for the privilege of getting to doctors, buying clothes, for old, old infrastructure, for no creative provision, such as a new bridge, free parking and fast trolleys from Long Island at the “border” to the city, Manhattan continuing to be the alpha and omega of all our attention.
Contempt is far easier for these types than creative solutions, requiring innovation.
After getting this monster pushed through, five-will-get-you-ten Mr Matthiessen will be living not far from his office at Bloomberg.
i hate to say this, but even if more money were raised, there will still be a shortfall in the budget as subsidiary will decrease.
by taking away options to go into manhattan, It is not the car commuters that will be inconvenienced, but rather the deliveries for commercial/businesses. as a result, prices will increase to reflect the tolls.
NYC is doomed. Cost of living has has become too big of a hurdle. The rich have taken over. The middle class can not live the comfortable life they deserve. Artists can not just keep moving farther from Manhattan. A mass exodus is coming. It is the Souths turn to prosper. Places like Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham will grow. Nice homes can be had for $300,000.
The car haters are at it again. They are clueless and indifferent to the transportation reality of millions in eastern Queens and south Brooklyn New Yorkers, who have no other transportation option but their, I’m sorry to say it, CARS! Enough taxes, we are financially stretched out to the limit. Not everybody in NYC is a Hipster from Manhattan or Downtown Brooklyn.
I am not a huge fan of the hipster myself, but to blame them for the high cost of living in NYC is ridiculous. They are a rather small group for the most part and contrary to popular belief, they do not hold a ton of wealth. They are like the annoying fruit fly in your office. Small, insignificant and very annoying. Now, lets talk cars. Almost every corner of NYC is accessible by public transportation. Everyone in NYC knows that cars are a luxury, not a right. I have been here 25 years and have never owned a car. I don’t have a beard or a car. The thought of driving into the city is horrifying to me. Traffic, tolls and parking. You would have to be out of your mind to do it. Can you honestly tell me that you can’t take a bus, a subway or a ferry from where you live? I don’t care if you have to walk 15 minutes to a station. I have had 15 minute walks to a station. Life in NYC is not easy but I would much prefer a car free city to the noisy, polluted, loud traffic we have now. I don’t hate cars, I hate cars in NYC. I was hit by a hit and run driver from behind while in a bike lane. Knocked unconscious and left bleeding in the road. Required 50 stitches to my face and scalp. The driver slowed, then sped away according to witnesses. Manhattan is not just your drive to work, it is a crowded home for families. We don’t like your damn cars, and I don’t even live in Manhattan. I say make the toll $25.
you missed the point. it’s not that hipsters are bad, it’s that people who are currently well served by subways dislike cars. they want to penalize car drivers with tolls, putting bike shares in parking spaces, etc. they don’t realize that a lot of people depend on those bridges and can’t afford tolls. owning a car in this city is expensive enough.
Agreed. The toll hurts. People need to think about the other side of this. I’m a NY native, I’ve had a car for as long as I can remember. It’s paid off, I use it when I need to take elderly family members to the doctor (usually in Manhattan) and when I travel long distances or shop for large items. Why would I get rid of it?
South Brooklyn has subways and buses. Eastern Queens has subways, buses, and LIRR. Not really sure how hipsters have anything to do with transportation.
Move to Mill Basin or Little Neck or Whitestone for a few months…and have two kids with soccer, tutoring and dance classes in different areas of Queens or Brooklyn, and church services and Sunday school, and try to make it without a car. The lack of awareness of the reality of the lives of families in the outer boroughs is incredible!
Move NY does not propose people get rid of their cars — we understand that some parts of the city really depend on them. The objective is to provide the new money needed to add alternative (mass transit) options for folks who live in currently transit challenged areas and to ask those who are driving into the most congested (and generally transit-rich) part of the city – i.e., the CBD – to pay their fair share. (Doesn’t sound like you’re talking about CBD-bound trips for most of your driving.) This should be a no-brainer. Plus don’t forget that the plan creates a first-ever ($375M a year) fund for improving the city’s pothole riven roads and bridges. This is a pro-car, pro-transit plan.
Just where is the lack of awareness? This thread is about a toll on the 59th street bridge. If you need to take Johnny to Sunday school in Brooklyn, you won’t go over the 59th Street Bridge will you?
The extra money will go somewhere other than to mass transit.