April 30, 2015 By Michael Florio
Several Queens law makers are opposed to a proposal that calls for charging commuters a toll for crossing the Queensboro Bridge—calling it “fundamentally unfair.”
The proposal, put forward by the lobby group Move NY in February, calls for motorists who use the free bridge to pay $5.54 each way (E-ZPass)–or $8.
Move NY, a group comprised of planners and traffic experts, claims that the toll would reduce traffic congestion in the Queens Plaza area as fewer drivers would use the bridge.
Furthermore, Move NY argues that the tolls generated at the Queensboro Bridge—and three other free bridges in the city (the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges) would lead to a $2.50 each-way reduction of tolls elsewhere—such as at the Triborough-RFK Bridge. They also argue it would raise about $1.5 billion each year for the MTA.
However, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and other Queens officials issued a joint statement earlier this week denouncing the plan.
“It is fundamentally unfair to charge residents a fee to travel within one city,” according to the statement. Furthermore, “the proposal tolls all routes from Queens to Manhattan.”
Move NY, however, claims the proposal would make the system fairer since it would lower the tolls on five of the six bridges in Queens—including the Triborough Bridge.
“Katz wants to preserve a system where some Queens drivers pay through the nose to cross the bridges they use while others pay nothing,” according to a Move NY statement.
Katz and other Queens lawmakers also reject Move NY’s claim that the proposed plan would generate $1.5 billion in revenue each year that would go toward maintaining, expanding and modernizing the MTA system.
“Without any direct connection between the revenues generated from the proposed tolls to those very improvements, there is simply no guarantee that this proposal will actually yield anything.”
However, Move NY argues that “the Katz solution is to starve the transit system of funding so under-served neighborhoods won’t get new service.”
Along with Katz, the joint statement was issued by State Senators Joseph Addabbo, Tony Avella, Leroy Comrie, Toby Stavisky; Assembly members Jeffrion Aubry, Barbara Clark, Vivian Cook, Phillip Goldfeder, Ronald Kim, Michael Miller, Michael Simanowitz, Michele Titus, David Weprin; Councilmembers Karen Koslowitz, Rory Lancman, I. Daneek Miller, Paul Vallone and Ruben Wills.
For the plan to go into effect, state legislators would have to pass the proposal.
Whoever is driving to Manhattan just to get to work is not strapped for cash because parking is at least 10X more expensive than a subway ride. The toll makes a lot of sense only if it is implemented during peak ours. This will decrease traffic in the city which impacts small business the most and for those that choose to drive in they will create revenue for the MTA which needs it to upgrade the system.
I completely agree. These callous and clueless Manhattan Bubble folks feel cars should be abolished. They simply refuse to understand that most people in Queens need to drive, because the public transport system has limited reach, and it costs a lot of money for a family of four to travel by bus + train + subway, say, from Little Neck to Manhattan! CLUELESS and CALLOUS!
HOW are the people who cannot afford the tolls going to fit on tyhe already overcrowded trains?
WHY are you going to create a new revenue stream for the bloated bureaucracy which has PROVED to be wasteful and ineffective in managing the MTA?
WHEN will the MTA abort its botched attempt at making “kickbacks” and “favors” disguised as being a player in the real estate business?
WHEN will there be TRUE TRANSPARENCY about MTA finances?
Answer these BEFORE you dare toll the free bridges.
No NOT succumb to the “rabid-mad-dog-anti-car” rantings of Charlie Komanoff and his fascist organization Transportation Alternatives. All they want to is BAN CARS. They offer no real “alternatives” other than shoe leather and bicycles.