From the Daily News:
A southern Queens community is trying to enlist the help of a civil liberties group in its fight against a proposal to abolish a decade-old toll rebate program on the Cross Bay Bridge.
In a creative legal strategy, community leaders in Broad Channel and Rockaway say that removing the rebate violates locals' First Amendment rights, provisions of the state Constitution and the City Charter.
"We have to pay a tax, in the form of a toll, to travel within our own community," said Community Board 14 member Michael Tubridy, who wrote a letter to the New York Civil Liberties Union.
"If the rebate program was removed, it would infringe on [our] rights," Tubridy said.
Broad Channel and Rockaway residents would be the only city residents forced to pay a toll within community board boundaries, established by the City Charter.
"The removal of this rebate will require Broad Channel and Rockaway residents to pay a toll to go to the post office, pick up their children at school, access our local hospital, go food shopping," Community Board 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska wrote in a letter to the NYCLU. "The financial cost to our residents will amount to thousands of dollars a year ... to conduct everyday activities."
Community members are planning a multipronged effort to halt the MTA plan, which is likely to take effect in June.