Feb. 23, 2015 By Michael Florio
A proposed plan that would charge commuters a toll for using the Queensboro bridge—and three other New York City bridges–was put forward last week by an advocacy group that includes the former NYC traffic commissioner.
MoveNY, a group comprised of traffic experts, research planners and eco-friendly non-profit firms, claims the tolls would lower traffic congestion and raise funds for the MTA.
Under the proposal, workers who commute to Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge each day would have to pay about $60 a week.
The tolls would also be placed on the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.
The toll on these four bridges would cost $5.54 each way if paid by E-ZPass and $8 each way for other drivers.
There wouldn’t be a toll booth. Instead there would be a sensor that would charge E-ZPass drivers as they go over the bridge. For those without E-ZPass, a camera would take a photo of people’s license plates and they would receive a bill in the mail, according to Bart Robbett, Communications Advisor with MoveNY.
The tolls on other MTA bridges—such as the Triborough and Whitestone– would be lowered $2.50 each way.
However, there are benefits for having a toll on the Queensboro Bridge for western Queens residents, Robbett said.
For one, there would be fewer vehicles exiting the Grand Central Parkway and driving through residential neighborhoods to get to the bridge.
“There would be fewer people going out of their way to get on the free bridge,” Robbett said. “These people are causing problems for [Western Queens] neighborhoods, by adding to the traffic.”
“There would be less traffic at places such as Queens Plaza,” he said, where people start jockeying for position to get over the bridge.
“They will have to pay, but they will see benefits,” he said.
Samuel Schwartz, a former New York City Traffic Commissioner, developed the proposal after his research found that the streets near the free bridges were congested. The bridges with tolls, he found, had far less congestion.
In addition to easing traffic congestion, MoveNY claims the new plan would generate $1.5 billion in revenue per year, which would go toward maintaining, expanding and modernizing the transit system and improving city bridges and roads.
“I know we can do better — better with traffic flow, reducing traffic crashes and fatalities, and being fairer to drivers [who use other MTA bridges], especially in the outer parts of the city,” Schwartz said.
State legislators would have to pass the proposal, since the state oversees the MTA.
New York City is made up of 5 boroughs; Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island & Manhattan. We have the same police & fire departments & the same city government including the same mayor. I live in Queens & work in Manhattan, in other words I live & work in NYC. I should have the right to drive to work in the city that I live in without paying a toll!
every bridge that went up,, they said when it paid for the bridge the toll booths would come down. I have an idea,, stop all food trucks and supplies trucks from coming in. Tell tourists and what people who moved into Manhattan 5 years ago from Kansas call people who lived here their whole life the bridge and tunnel crowd to stay away. tax everything till people go away. Tear down the bridges to Manhattan and we will stop comming.. never heard of a city trying as hard as nyc stopping people from going there even though we were born here
Of course there should be tolls!! Anything to cut down on the amount of cars coming into Manhattan. I would gladly pay the toll to eliminate the dregs and miscreants from using the Queensborough Bridge. Let them stay where they belong; and out of the city if they can’t afford the privilege of being there.
A toll would discourage anyone from going into the city unless they had business there.
Unless they have businesses there? What about the ones that wish to go out to the city because that’s where mostly everything is? Don’t you even realize it may hurt businesses in the city if other people from around here boroughs for the most part show up less to the city because of these free bridges charging tolls, you ever though of that?? and lol @ “let them stay where they belong” you sound like a Trump supporter, spoiled brat. Everyone works hard for their money, NY is already expensive as is including all the taxes for homes and loans were paying off for school but now we have people like you thinking it’s ok to charge everyone on these free bridges…traffic can be annoying I get it, but don’t you dare give anyone that “let them stay where they belong crap” it’s people like you that should pay for being narrow minded.
This gets brought up every year. Not only will it not improve traffic at the bridges, it will cause more congestion on the already over crowded trains. People will drive to the areas closest to the bridges, park and hop on the train. The same trains that are going to be maxed out due to the increase in residential buildings in LIC. Then they will have to increase the price of metro cards again to accommodate for the increase in ridership because no one wants to pay to cross a free bridge. Also take into account the amount of parking spots taken and increase in traffic looking for parking. If this does happen to go into effect, I would certainly hope that the residents that live near the bridges get a huge discount based on their address. I do not drive into the city every day but when I do, I do not want to pay to cross a bridge that it takes me less than 15 min to run across.
I think the toll during business hours on week days is a very good idea. There is no reason people should be commuting to Manhattan by car and clogging up the streets. This will speed up traffic and increase productivity for many of the business that serve the city. However, it should only be limited to business hours and week days.
Except that river bridge tolls end up being regressive and unfair because many people who will pay them are live in areas not well-served by mass transit and must drive to work, they can only afford to live in far off areas in the boroughs and drive only out of necessity, and they tend to earn less than those in Manhattan, which would not pay a dime. A congestion charge in the busiest parts of the city would be more fair than this stinker.
But you lemings need to pay for all the pensions for the hard working MTA.
Keep voting in Democrats, who are bought and paid for by the Unions, to negotiate contracts that can not be afforded because they were put into office by Unions.
Best decision I ever made was moving South. Property tax is under 1%, gas is cheap, income tax is significantly less, sales tax is slightly lower, and NO tolls anywhere (except florida)
Here we go again! There are lights at both ends of the Ed Koch/Queensboro/59th Street Bridge. Can you possibly imagine the stalled/stopped traffic at either end? Nobody would get to their destination without packing a picnic lunch and starting out at least five hours before they need to be there. No, if it happens, there will be lots of congestion, and how are these proposed tolls to be paid, going on, going off, or both ways? Not a good idea.
It clearly says in the article that there wouldn’t be a toll booth.. traffic would keep moving and the sensor would read the EZ pass or take a photo of the license plate to bill you.
“There wouldn’t be a toll booth. Instead there would be a sensor that would charge E-ZPass drivers as they go over the bridge. For those without E-ZPass, a camera would take a photo of people’s license plates and they would receive a bill in the mail..”
No one who lives in this city should have to pay to get to another part of their own city. Period. End of Story!
This gets proposed by venerable commissions every few years only to die at City Hall. No politician in NYC has the balls to piss off his constituents to the degree a change like this would.
Worst idea ever. This won’t be a congestion charge, this will be a penalty to the boroughs. Why lower other tolls? LIC business (industrial and service) is booming because of free access to Manhattan.
This is so wrong and is putting pressure on middle class people. Fail DEBLASIO.
Where’s JVB? Oh yes, in the Dead Poll Sea.
Why worry about traffic congestion now, when the rail yards are built on top of, they have to redesign all of the auto and pedestrian traffic anyway!
When the City(and the MTA) opens its’ books to the public and becomes accountable for all the hundreds of millions they waste, defraud and embezzle and they can PROVE that this is the only way to keep the bridge open, safely, then maybe. With Sheldon Silver under indictment and Alan Hevesi in jail, isn’t this the wrong time to be crying poor? What ever happened to the NYS Lottery being the source for “Incremental or emergency” funding for schools? Why does the MTA post profits and THEN turn around and say we need to make fare hikes? Haven’t they taken MOST of the human token booth attendants out of the 468 subway stations? Don’t they know how to financially plan? What business on EARTH can constantly overspend and remain operational? Why aren’t Municipalities held to the same standards? And WHY does the public foot the bill for their mistakes? Hilarious.
All bridges and tunnels have been paid for MANY times over. Remove the toll taxes, as the edict stated when these bridges and tunnels were built
Oh Geez is this really going to happen? That’s just wrong! It’s time to go!