Wednesday, February 18, 2009

East River tolls likely DOA

From AM-NY:

Facing deadline next month to pass a rescue package for the MTA, the state legislature will likely kill a proposal to toll East River bridges and go ahead with a payroll tax on businesses.

Revenue from the payroll tax would more than cover the MTA’s $1.2 billion budget gap – averting the need for a threatened 23 percent fare increase.

But straphangers shouldn’t get too excited — even if the MTA's budget gap is closed, fares would still probably rise 8 percent, the fourth hike since 2003.

The toll plan never sat well with many powerful Democrats, and political observers agree it’s probably a nonstarter.

Photo from


Anonymous said...

It will happen. They will make it a choice - fire police hospitals or tolls.

Take it or leave it.

If our pols can reject the public's opinion on term limits they will go along with this.

Afterall, in a one party state, what are you going to do about it?

Anonymous said...

A Release from Hiram office

NEW YORK - With the city, state and the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) facing budget deficits totaling over $10 billion, State Senator Hiram Monserrate is calling for a transportation policy that could include a partial tolling of the East River bridges as a last resort, if the MTA's deficit cannot be closed, necessitating service disruptions and fare hikes.

Senator Monserrate unveiled his proposal at a town hall meeting on transportation, Tuesday evening in Queens, New York. The Senator was joined by Richard Ravitch, former chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, along with Assemblyman Jos� Peralta, the New York League of Conservation Voters, Transportation Alternatives, the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, and the Jackson Heights Green Alliance.

State Senator Monserrate said, "This compromise will fulfill two critical needs -- funding mass transit and protecting the environment from a large amount of harmful carbon emissions." "The hard-working people of Queens and New York City shouldn't have to pay just for the privilege of leaving their homes, so tolling the East River bridges at all hours is simply not acceptable."

In reports, New York State Governor David A. Paterson and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg have expressed interest in pursuing the plan put forth by former MTA chairman Richard Ravitch that would place tolls on the free East River and Harlem River crossings, which would include the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. This plan, which avoids traffic-causing toll booths by using E-Z Pass and license-plate readers, would raise over $2 billion annually dedicated to funding mass transit programs and stimulating the state's economy.

Will Sweeney of the Jackson Heights Green Alliance said, "As a city, we must find a reasonable way to make subways and buses affordable to all New Yorkers. The reality is that in Jackson Heights, like in scores of neighborhoods around the city, residents are suffering every day. Traffic congestion contributes to the polluted air we must breathe and the dirty streets with dangerous intersections we must walk. More funding for mass transit is the only way to combat traffic congestion and improve subways and buses

State Senator Monserrate concluded, "Ninety-seven percent of my district utilizes mass transit and its infrastructure is in desperate need of revenue. Further, charging drivers to cross these bridges during rush hour is not optimal, but we cannot afford to let our mass transit infrastructure to collapse or cripple commuters by reducing service." "This solution gives drivers the chance to schedule free trips across the bridges if they choose not to use mass transit, while also helping the environment by reducing the time cars spend idling in traffic."

Anonymous said...

"State Senator Monserrate said, "This compromise will fulfill two critical needs...."

Just like OTB and the Lottery..

Reality: The added amount will be vacuumed up by unions, vendors and pork.

Anonymous said...

STATE SENATOR MONSERRATE?? Who cares what he says? He should be sitting in jail for felony assault not spouting crap at us? He represents Queens and endorses even a partial toll hour??

The MTA with or without East river tolls implimented would or will raise fare 8 percent, regardless. Rather we have no East river tolls the MTA fare is still affordable (.16cents hike) if they leave the transfers alone.

Anonymous said...

East River tolls will happen now or later. As good policy, they are inevitable. We can only hope (and work towards this) that they will be implemented sooner rather than later, so that the damage from a hobbled transportation system can be limited.

The days of free-riding car drivers are thankfully almost over! We don't have to needlessly suffer much longer.

Anonymous said...

They should toll the bridges. Why should everyone pay more instead of the people using the bridges pay to use them?

Anonymous said...

"They should toll the bridges. Why should everyone pay more instead of the people using the bridges pay to use them?"

Because it is fundamentally unfair to segregate the boroughs.

I live in Manhattan and don't have a car, but I understand the necessity of free and easy travel within this city's limits.

You can't correlate this to say, a place such as New Jersey where tolls are mostly set up between widely separated areas along a highway.

The NYC boroughs are intimately related and we should not put up barriers just to raise cash..or for any reason.

Anonymous said...

Tolls on the bridges are a bad idea.

Bloomberg ass lickers must be commenting on this site. Or maybe its the Manhattanites that would love to have the outer boroughs pay dearly to visit their private kingdom.

The MTA has money....they just haven't looked at their third set of books yet!

Anonymous said...

Lino your comment is ridiculous. By your rationale we shouldn't charge anything for subways or buses. Driving is privilege, not a right.

Anonymous said...

No, having a transit system is a privilege. Most people drive to get where they're going in this country.

Anonymous said...

"Lino your comment is ridiculous. By your rationale we shouldn't charge anything for subways or buses. Driving is privilege, not a right."

...And you are charged for that privilege via driver's license and registration.

You should -not- be charged to convey -yourself- from one part of the city to another.

By your tortured logic we should all be charged every time we cross a street, after all that pavement and those traffic lights have to be maintained...Right?

All that will result from inter borough tolls is an added cost of living and doing business which will ripple back to -us-! Any added revenue will be sucked up in the great Civil Service (vacumn) machine.

Try to develop a sense for the bigger picture, and some historical perspective.

Anonymous said...

Everyone in the city walks on the streets. Not everyone drives, and even further, not everyone drives over bridges. The people who use the bridge should pay more toward it. Stop insisting on a free pass paid for by others.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize they stopped pedestrians, buses and bikes from going over the bridge.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight the MTA can't make money so drivers now have to pay?

I don't drive to work but this is just another middle class tax masquerading as somthing else so bloomberg can continue his marxist utopian ideology. All the while where I used to live on 6th street -- the projects were filled with denizens who had cars but also a parking lot to park them!