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Queens residents favor placing a toll on Queensboro Bridge to raise revenue, data released by advocacy group reveals

Jan. 31, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

Queens residents support the placement of a toll on the Queensboro Bridge—and three other bridges—as a means to generate funding to bolster the transit system and improve roadways, according to poll data released by the activist group Transportation Alternatives.

The survey, conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, revealed that 55 percent of those Queens residents surveyed, and 54 percent of all respondents, support the addition of a toll at the Queensboro Bridge—as well as the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges—as a way to generate income for the transit system as opposed to other revenue-raising measures.

The toll on these four bridges under the proposed Move NY plan would cost $5.54 each way if paid by E-ZPass and $8 each way for other drivers.

The plan to raise tolls, which was hatched by the transportation lobby group Move NY, aims to raise revenue, decrease traffic congestion while creating a more equitable tolling structure. For instance, under the Move NY plan, the toll would be lowered at the Triborough/RFK and other existing tolled bridges.

The tolls on these bridges would be lowered by $2.50 each way.

The advocates for the Move NY plan claim that the plan would disincentivize drivers from using the Queensboro Bridge, therefore reducing congestion and pollution around Queens Plaza.

Surveyors spoke with 880 likely voters throughout the city and gave them four options as to how funds would be best raised to improve the transportation system, asking the respondents to pick their favorite.

The respondents were told ahead of time that there was a need for additional revenue and that some drivers pay high tolls to cross bridges in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island while other drivers pay no tolls at all on most bridges leading into Manhattan.

The survey offered respondents the options of raising subway and bus fares, raising taxes on all residents, introducing new tolls on bridges that lead into Manhattan that are currently without tolls, while lowering them on bridges in other locations that already have high tolls, or none of the above.

Those interviewed mostly chose the toll swapping option, with 54 percent saying they would prefer the Move NY proposal. Only six percent supported raising public transportation fares, and 16 percent supported raising taxes. 24 percent said either none of the above or they didn’t know.

“These poll results show that a wide range of New Yorkers, even those who drive, support a more equitable tolling system that would raise essential funds to strengthen transit and give communities an unprecedented say about which repair and expansion projects are most urgently needed,” said Paul White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, the group that administered the survey.

The proposal was introduced in the State Assembly and State Senate last year, and is expected to be reintroduced again this year.

The state will determine if the plan goes into effect.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose husband Dan Hendrick is on the board of Transportation Alternatives, has been an outspoken supporter of the plan.

An informal poll on this website and other Queenspost publications in 2015, revealed that more than 80 percent of the 2,100 respondents (separate IP addresses) opposed the placement of a toll on the Queensboro Bridge.

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81 Comments

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Joann Ianniello

Oh boy! I can’t imagine any lifelong Queens resident voting for a toll on the Queensboro Bridge! The vote on this page is more reflective of our sentiments.

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Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr.

Based on the political climate in both the city and state levels, especially here in Queens, congestion pricing will be a nonstarter in the not too distant future because many middle-class drivers, small businesses and elected officials are still opposing it to this day, due to the fact that it is a regressive tax. It’s a bad catch-22 for everyone: Good for finding the reliable sources of funding for improving our own infrastructure, but ad for middle class residents where driving is the only option.

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Anonymous

JVB is on twitter again marching with a crowd in long island city in front of Uber he words read no one should undermind the resistence #NO BAN #NO WALL doesn’t he work at all —

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Joe

This could work if tolls are also imposed on pedestrians and cyclists who also benefit from using the bridge. This could also create new jobs for toll collectors who will be replaced by automatic tolls for cars.

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William Molloy

The problem with New York today is that too many non New Yorkers (transplants,rubes)have infiltrated city government and affect policy based on being raised in the suburbs. Bike lanes are a joke. Pedestrian malls,another joke. The city of my youth is vanishing

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FromQueensNYC

I do not believe this poll result for a minute! As if we want to be taxed and tolled any more than we already are! Enough of stiffing the middle class with more costs! These car haters are so clueless!

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Barry Day

Lies! Maybe if they could actually get the 7-train running regularly, people wouldn’t feel the need to drive into Manhattan.

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Anonymous

well well well — Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose husband Dan Hendrick is on the board of Transportation Alternatives, has been an outspoken supporter of the plan.

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Queens resident

As a resident of New York city there should be a FREE option for me to move about my city. I should not have to pay to move between boro’s. I understand tolls across state lines (Hudson crossing) but again a NYC resident should be able to move about the city for free and not be required to walk or ride a bike.

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brooklynmc

Really? Are there examples of free travel in this country. I really don’t expect to get anywhere for free. I even figured out that rollerblading home from work costs about the same as taking the subway. I go through 2 pairs of $300 skates a year + brakes and wheels.

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Paul

Ole Jimmy at it again….Chair of the Cultural Affairs—but can’t even get a LIC artist, let alone a Queens artist to do a Pepto Bismol sculpture on Jackson Avenue…..Tries to lead a movement to overthrow the President of the United States, but can’t even fix the 7 train or get a stop sign on Central Blvd….wants to remind people how “effective” he is with an obnoxious report card–that only he himself in the entire council feels necessary to do—yet can’t stop a toll that NO ONE wants….Jimster, in my book….you’re a “P” for Pathetic.

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brooklynmc

I say cut government fat and hit reset on destructive unions. We can not afford to pay garbage men $100,000 a year with great bennies and pensions. Not sustainable and not a good path for our country. Why graduate with a mountain of debt? Why be a doctor? My kids should go to trade school and be plumbers or steelworkers or work for the government rather than go to medical school or to become an architect? Why even be smart? Not saying garbage men are not smart, just saying you don’t have to be smart to make a very good living. You don’t need a masters and you definitely don’t need a college degree.

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Any sweatshops hiring

Ugh…why do I even bother with a 529 plan for my kids?! I need to look into child labor laws.. put them to work now and they will be years ahead of their classmates!

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NYC middleclass

This poll is clearly rigged. And btw
“Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose husband Dan Hendrick” wanted this pass….Vote these people out, they have no idea.

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huh?

Honestly, I am still on the fence on this issue. It would certainly help with congestion in the area. Just because it has been a free crossing for decades doesn’t exempt it. What I don’t agree with is reducing other tolls by 2.50, why not just make all the tolls a fixed amount which would be lower than the current toll amounts, with the added revenues from the QB bridge. Also, with the eventual removal of toll booth operators, that should also help the cause.

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DO

Limos for elected officials, and the wealthy, bikes for the young and warrior fearless. The mortality and injury for bicycling, the lanes provided, deserted in our cold months, and relentless attacks on transport for small business, the elderly and far reaching commuters, that vast acerage in Queens without viable public transportation. Is this a plan, or revenge? Amethod for misery or a dystopian novel?

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Sergio

That’s BS, those people just want more Money ?. I don’t think so that we as queens residents want this or voted for it , we barely making it with our salary and the other thing is whether is done or NOT everything goes UP or to do it and not to raise more taxes

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Sergio

That’s BS , they just want more money ? cause whether they do it OR not everything goes UP . Or the other thing is to do that and NOT raise taxes

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Bill Clinton

People in Queens aren’t rich like people in Manhattan, we can’t afford to pay tolls !!!

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Betty Rontiris Paralikas

Really, 880 people represent Queens!!!!
I say redo! I’d like to see that survey.

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MRLIC

It also doesn’t surprise me that Jimmy Van Bramer’s husband supports the tolls. Jimmy probably does too.

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MRLIC

Just what we need more people on already crowded trains. Why is our Dumb city council and crooked Mayor trying to make it harder to live here for working people? Bag taxes, Metrocard hikes every 2 years, now tolls on bridges hat were once FREE. Why is the LICPOST poll show 81% against the new tolls. Remember Hillary was leading in the polls, wasn’t she? Hmmmmm

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MRLIC

Just add more people to the trains, they are not crowded enough, BRILLIANT MOVE. Why is the City Council and our Crooked Mayor always out to bash us with bag taxes higher fares and tolls. Don’t hey work for us. NYC is already too expensive to live in and they wish to make it WORSE. BRILLIANT AGAIN, The war against the British Taxes seems less than what is being proposed here. No one polled me, why does the LICPOST poll show 81% against the TOLLS?

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Anonymous

This is total crap, I can hardly pay for parking in the city much less to go and pay for toll. I can’t the train because of my hours. The city just want to keep on milking money from the poor. Smh. I’m so disgusted.

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Agnes

I foresee in my magic mirror even more commuters’ cars parked in Sunnyside, so the locals will be left with no street parking during working hours

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MRLIC

Why do our City Council and Crooked Mayor and suppose district leaders always listen to these groups such as Move NY, Transportation Alternatives,Make the road NY etc…never have anything about lowering or eliminating tolls. Polls definitely FLAWED. NYC going downhill faster than before.

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The Queens taster.

How is this not the main news on cnn, fox, cnbc and other forms of media. that for The first time in the history of the world the residents of an area are in support of paying a toll so they can cross a bridge that they have always crossed for free as have their parents, grandparents and possibly great grandparents in going about their daily business of earning a living. It’s quite unique if not unbelievable. possibly if you asked the same people if we should just have one weekend off a month, and worked seven days a week for three consecutive weeks, they would also say yes. I mean the extra days worked would help pay for the tolls and anything else that these faceless nameless people can come up in the name of profit, I know I have rambled on when another contributor has already. said it in one line this is BS . as it is it’s only febuary 1st tomorrow this article is 2 months too early.

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Nyc Jay

Subway fare will go up no matter what happens. Aren’t we paying enough taxes? Income, property, sales tax? We pay the most! Also where was the other option “none of the above” on the poll. “Surveyors spoke with 880 likely voters throughout the city and gave them four options as to how funds would be best raised to improve the transportation system, asking the respondents to pick their favorite.” Hahaha…no comment.

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Cruz

I would love to see how the question was phrased. I see it says there were options, and I bet none of the options said “no toll hike”. And I’m sure ppl who only take the RFK bridge wouldn’t mind a toll added to those bridges so it can reduce their fair.

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Alex Matthiessen

I would argue that in fact, transit riders and existing toll payers are being squeezed by those who insist on getting a free ride. Somebody has to pay for the upkeep of those East River bridges – doesn’t it make sense that those who directly use it at least contribute? This seems like a no-brainer. I live in Brooklyn and will have to pay too. Don’t love it but it’s the fair thing and thus the right thing to do.

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Anonymous

I have taken all forms of transportation to and from queens. And I don’t see your point. You say that it’s unfair that drivers don’t pay even though we do in different ways. If the MTA needs more money then then need to reassess where the money is going. How many times have you seen workers all over tracks but only a handful actually working? Bridges and roads are terrible in this city. You know instead of passing the buck to the rider driver or anyone else that pays to move. Why don’t we reflect upon where the money that comes in goes out and reallocate it where it is really needed instead of having insane MTA luxuries. Every time you turn around the MTA has its hands out like a homeless person panhandling on the train and don’t get me started on that. Roads and bridges in others states are far superior to ours so we need to ask them what they are getting right and model after it. Or have the MTA go public and generate the money that way. But they won’t since it will have oversight and that would ruin the gravy train.

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Make America Suck Less!

The poor work ethic of MTA workers is not a NYC thing, its a country wide problem.. attitudes of city workers on the clock are much the same. There’s, no incentive to work harder/faster. Having traveled a bit and just making observations, other cities outside the US don’t have this issue. I know this is a very generalized statement but you get the idea. Obviously there are some good ones in the US and some bad ones elsewhere.

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really?

You live in Brooklyn and you have to pay too? So your preferred method of travel to get to Manhattan from BK is via the QB bridge instead of the FREE Williamsburg bridge located in your home borough? Alex, you’re better than that. Why isn’t MoveOn targeting the WB bridge with tolls? It is your borough after all, and your neighbors will stand by you right?

I support lower and equal tolls on all bridges/tunnels.

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Anonymous

BullSh*****T. No tolls. Come on, don’t kill the hard working middle class AND Queens Business relying on the bridge for delivery to MH businesses.

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Alex Matthiessen

The vast majority of hard, working class people have to reply on the transit system as they can’t afford to own and operate cars. Car owners in the city are on average significantly wealthier than non-car owners. And the poll conducted was biased in favor of car owners meaning that they polled a disproportionately high number of drivers compared to the actual proportion of drivers to the overall population in the City. And still drivers support the Move NY plan at 50%. The reason? Because drivers get a lot back in return for their toll dollar: lower tolls on other MTA bridges (by as much as 45%); less traffic on the East River bridges; and a first-time ever dedicated fund ($375M per year) for maintaining and repairing the East River bridges and other roads and bridges around the City. But the bottom line is if you actually care about working middle class NYers, you would support any plan that expands, upgrades and maintains the City’s transit system, while reducing fares for riders in the outer parts of the city. Btw, small businesses doing business with their vehicles also come out ahead: they are capped at only one roundtrip toll a day regardless of how many trips they make; with the toll only being about $11 roundtrip, the time saved and extra deliveries or service calls made means more money in their pockets, not less.

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SP

the “temporary” non residents want this toll so they could ride their bikes around the QB bridge…

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Anonymous

So basically i have to quit my job, cause im already cutting out meals to pay for tolls from jersey city to long island. Thats 15 dollars now for the Holland Tunnel

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Anonymous

I’d have to quit mine too. I’m not riding the subway anymore. Women are molested and raped there all the time. I changed careers in order to use my car to travel. Sixteen bucks a day for basic safety will kill me. It will drive me out of New York altogether.

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DN

This is really stupid. You quit your job because you want to drive to work instead of taking the subway? Please move, you are the type of person who is ruining New York.

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JAA

Run a biased poll, and you get biased results.

The LIC Post poll on this article shows an extremely different result

The difference in results is because LIC Post asked the question directly, while MoveNY/TA asked a very different question, biasing respondents to answer to the lesser of many evils.

880 participants out of a city of 8.5 million is 0.01% of the entire city population. Their finding is not statistically significant, and is extremely flawed science.

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Alex Matthiessen

Huh? You’re arguing that a poll using standard methodology of sample a portion of the population is less accurate than a non-scientific newspaper poll of eight people.

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JAA

8 people? Are you telling me 8 people have voted over 2000 times on the poll above? What are you smoking?

Don’t troll us. Queens residents are smarter than that.

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Gman

NItwit almost three thousand people voted in the newspaper poll and 81% stated they want no tolls on the 59th Street/Queensborough bridge. Stop calling the Koch bridge. You haven’t been living in Queens long enough to have an opinion on what we should and should not pay. Drivers pay taxes on gasoline, repairs, and sales tases. They pay to register their vehicle, have it inspected and most likely to park. Maybe you should ride your bike off a bridge.

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Anonymous

Total BS must of asked the same people that were voting for Hillary these polls are so out if touch absolutely ridiculous!!

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Alex

Yes, in part because other users of the City’s transportation infrastructure are contributing nothing, thus increasing the burden on transit riders and outer bridge toll payers to carry the load. Not fair.

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sc

100% yes, there should be tolls on all east river crossings – and this new “booth-less” toll collecting is clearly step one in doing just that.

it’s overdue. we need more money for infrastructure, and i’m tired of having my metrocard price raised without any hit on those who drive over the bridge.

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Steven

Are you kidding me? Don’t we pay enough especially with New York insurance prices, NYC gas price, existing tolls, give me a break or cut the gas price in half. You guys don’t pay crap for mta at most $130 for a monthly and you guys complaining

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Alex Matthiessen

Steven, I understand that car ownership has various costs but none of those costs you cite, except other existing tolls, go toward maintaining the infrastructure. No one (from Move NY) argues that drivers shouldn’t drive; we argue that if you’re going to choose to drive, you should help defray the costs of the infrastructure you use like everyone else (except pedestrians and bicyclists though their travel mode has limited costs on everyone else – unlike driving which puts wear and tear on the bridges and roads, creates air pollution (including smog and particulates that cause increase respiratory illness), causes traffic (which has a real cost to other drivers in terms of time lost) and of course causes occasional crashes which sometime maim or kill people. Again, despite all those significant costs the driver, including me, imposes on everyone else, no one is saying don’t drive. Just pay your fair share and help us maintain the lifeblood of this great city. Remember that bridges aren’t free; somebody pays and in the case of the East River bridges, it’s not the actual users of the bridges (which makes zero sense); it’s the general taxpayer as well as the subway and bus riders and other drivers whose fares and tolls go up 4+% every two years while the free ERB riders continue to pay $0 year after year after year. Just ain’t fair. Remember too that for Queens drivers 5 out of 6 of your bridges are going to be slashed nearly in half while the one bridge that isn’t tolled (Koch) will be tolled the same as the Midtown Tunnel. And even on the Koch, drivers using the upper level into Manhattan that drops them off north of 60th St. will pay nearly half of the CBD-bound drivers. It’s a sensible plan and in six years of working on this, I haven’t heard anyone come up with a better idea for paying for the City’s transportation system.

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Rudy Sanfilippo

cut the waste from an 85 billion dollar budget and take care of this and many other problems this City has.
There is your solution.

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DO

Cramming millions more tax paying residents into buildings, both in Manhattan and now Queens, then raising transportation costs with taxes. NYC will be unlivable. Developers live on estates in Westchester or Long Island and helicopter home, or walk from Madison (office) to Park Avenue (home). And pay abatements (zero) taxes.
No wonder they have the money to pay public relations guys to post here, and push bs to get middle class suckers off the roads. Which won’t be less crowded, by the way.
This campaign has the pious sound and sophisticated public relations feel of the last election, the way.

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DO

The “lobby” for tolls ignore the numerous small businesses in Queens, the lifeblood of an artistic, industrial and post industrial service economy. Merely the underpinnings of the city as a whole. Unless one wants New Jersey to lap up the jobs and raise expenses for landlords, small businesses in Manhattan and,oh, tenants who realize they are living sub par lives, keep those taxing mitts of our paid for Koch/Queensboro bridge. 880 people were asked in the poll? Gimme a break.
(After overbuilding in Manhattan, now let’s pull up the bridges to keep out the riff raff, by the way.)

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Alex Matthiessen

Er, that’s how polling works: you take a sample of the population and can extrapolate how the population as a whole views a given issue. It’s accurate within a few percentage points (the margin of error). The Koch bridge is not paid for, in fact. There’s no such thing as a free bridge. The City’s taxpayers pay for a lot of the maintenance and upkeep; meanwhile those who actually use it and create wear and tear not to mention contribute to traffic pay $0. Makes no sense and is not fair. Why should some guy who doesn’t have the luxury of driving have to pay to maintain the subways (and buses) for the privilege of occupying 2 sq. feet on a crowded subway while the guy who is also benefiting from the maintenance of (bridge) infrastructure pays nothing each and every time he crosses. No one says that drivers shouldn’t drive. They should just have to contribute to maintaining the infrastructure like everyone else. How is it fair that a driver who crosses the Whitestone every day pays up to $16 cash roundtrip, even though she really is limited in her options for traveling around, yet the person in LI City who has transit options gets to pay nothing to cross her bridge. This is simply about fairness and raising some badly needed money to pay for our transit, roads and bridges – the latter part being why many drivers support the Move NY Fair Plan.

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Anonymous

Your arrogant tone undermines your argument. Take a look at this website’s poll. It does not agree with your results in any way whatsoever and it is read by people from Queens.

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Caesar

I wonder where you live. Because us queens residents. Dont need anymore tolls. Especially on a 2 lane bridge . That is the most craziest thing I’ve heard. That is like trapping. L.i and queens brooklyn etc city gets enough from tolls. And high volume of people is the problem. But you can’t put a toll on those 3 bridges . Get lost

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Alex Matthiessen

The tolls would be gateless and boothless – all electronic and pay by mail. Drivers using the Koch would move faster not slower.

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Anonymous

This is much more about controlling who comes in and out of the Manhattan than about money. Or else they would not give such a huge discount for ezpass. When you base your argument on a half truth we all see right through it and dismiss you as dishonest no matter how flawless your logic.

Let the terrorists live in the boroughs but keep them out of Manhattan. You are despicable. Your poll was too narrow, too.

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DN

Huh? How is it about controlling who goes in and out of Manhattan? Bridges aren’t the only way in and out of the borough. There’s also a thing called the subway.

More money wasted by mta

Focus on the money the mta wastes first. Root out the corrruption and then maybe we can talk about this. The money created from this move will keep going to corrupt people’s pockets. Also, i believe this study was funded by the mta. The poll above shows a dramatcially different story.

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Alex Matthiessen

MTA did not fund the poll or any of Move NY’s work. In fact, the MTA worries that the plan would put too much control in the hands of the public and their representatives who would have oversight over where $4.5 billion of the money raised, allocated mostly for expanding transit and lowering fares for riders in the non-Manhattan boroughs, would be spent.

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Anonymous

It is obvious you will benefit from this bridge or you wouldn’t continue to ignore what is clear. No one in Queens wants the tolls. It would destroy my livelihood.

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Laurelie Lee

I find it very hard to believe that the residents want this toll. There’s enough congestion and costs traveling within the 5 boroughs. Looking at the poll right here on this website 81% say NO. Haven’t we learned from the presidential election that we cannot rely on the accuracy of polls?

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JUST A THOUGHT!

Do you think Jimmy Van Bramer’s husband, Dan Hendrick, who’s a Board of Director of Transportation Alternative a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has to do anything with the tolls?

Probably a lot to do with the stupid bike lanes on Queens Blvd.

https://www.transalt.org/about/board

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