Ask many drivers what they think about the current toll structure & you are bound to hear one complaint after another. Well get ready for even more complaints if a plan to add tolls to the East River crossings goes into effect. The plan calls for adding tolls to the 59th Street, Brooklyn, Manhattan, & Williamsburg bridges. The money would be used as a source of revenue for the cash strapped MTA. New York Daily News writer Rich Schapiro had more in this report:
Congestion pricing may not be dead after all.
A state commission is considering adding tolls to the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and 59th Street bridges to ease the MTA’s billion-dollar budget hole, sources said.
With nearly half a million cars and trucks crossing the four East River bridges every day, the proposed tolls could raise up to $1 billion for the cash-strapped MTA, sources said.
The Ravitch Commission, appointed by Gov. Paterson to find a long-term solution to the MTA’s financial woes, is expected to hand over its recommendations on new funding sources for the MTA next month.
The proposal wouldn’t go into effect overnight – or without a vicious fight.
Both City Hall and Albany would have to approve the wallet-busting plan because the city owns the four bridges and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is a state agency.
A source revealed that Mayor Bloomberg’s full congestion pricing plan is also back on the table.
Click here for the complete report.
It is tough to take one side over the other in this situation. On one hand, I am a huge believer in mass transit & the benefits it brings to the table. I understand the MTA needs a lot of money & has to do what it can to generate much needed revenue. On the other hand, I can understand why many drivers are not going to be happy with this proposal.
I am not surprised that congestion pricing is back on the table as well. It was a given that this would be one of the suggestions from the Ravitch Commission. As I said, I fully stand behind my statement that the plan is a sham & nothing more than “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. The idea of tolling all 4 East River crossings could be looked at in the same manner.
It will come as no surprise to me when I start to come across many who are in support of this plan along with congestion pricing. I tend to read the typical rhetoric which never answers the one question I have posed. Why are transit supporters quick to pass the bill to drivers & let our elected officials off the hook?
I know there will always be a battle between drivers & mass transit users as each group tends to pass judgment on the other. Drivers usually only care about what benefits their form of transportation. Meanwhile transit riders tend to be pro mass transit at all costs regardless of who else it effects. However this energy should be focused on making sure our elected officials do what is necessary in terms of funding the MTA.
I do not feel it is right for the burden to once again fall on drivers or riders to help bail the MTA out of its financial crisis. Plans such as these do nothing but put an even heavier burden on the overloaded shoulders of the public. When will enough be enough?
xoxo Transit Blogger