Brooklyn Borough President Comments On East River Bridge Toll Proposal

The plan is not a secret to anyone who has not lived under a rock recently. The Ravitch Commission is in charge of recommending new ways for the MTA to bring in different sources of dedicated funds. One of the proposals that is to be submitted as part of next month’s report calls for tolls to be added to 4 East River Bridges which consist of the 59th Street, Brooklyn, Manhattan, & Wiliamsburg Bridges. In what should come as no surprise, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz had something to say about the proposal:

“Haven’t we been down this road before? I have said it before and will say it again: East River tolls are discriminatory, impractical, and impose an unfair ‘tax’ on the outer boroughs—especially Brooklyn. Three of the four un-tolled bridges—the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg—are in Brooklyn, and because some parts of our borough have limited or no access to mass transit, drivers, including those who use their vehicles for small businesses, have no choice but to use these spans. Additionally, even with advances in E-ZPass technology, tolls will create even worse traffic backups for communities such as Downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg, DUMBO, and the ‘Brownstone Belt’ of Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights and Boerum Hill, which already suffer.

It is, of course, imperative to find ways to close the City’s growing budget gap in these tough economic times—but placing the burden unfairly on the backs of hard-working Brooklynites is not one of them.”

I am not surprised that Marty has come out against the tolls. He like many others find this proposal to be an attack on residents of the outer boroughs, in this case Brooklyn. I personally do not support this proposal at this time. Although I can sympathize with his feeling for those in his borough, even he has to admit that the MTA’s financial health is more important than just one borough. Before I could ever agree to this proposal, I would like to see the MTA scratch & claw for every dollar they can in terms of fat trimming, consolidation, along with any aid they rightfully deserve. If they truly do that & are out of other ideas, maybe then I could support this plan.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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[…] Commission possibly looking into proposing tolls on the East River Bridges. The news was met with harsh criticism by many including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz who said “East River tolls are […]

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