MTA Should Buy Two City Bridges For $1 Each….

Earlier this afternoon I wrote about the initial Ravitch Commission hearing that was held at NYU. I mainly focused on the main sentiments that are shared by many transit advocates throughout the region. However at this hearing former Transportation Commissioner Louis Riccio proposed an idea he called “congestion pricing lite”. The idea called for the MTA to buy the Manhattan & Williamsburg Bridges from the city for $1 each. New York Daily News transit reporter Pete Donohue has more in his report:

Hey, MTA, wanna buy a bridge … or two?

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority should purchase the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges from the city for $1 each – and impose tolls, a former city official urged.

Ex-Transportation Commissioner Louis Riccio called his concept “congestion pricing lite” because other East River crossings would remain free.

“We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars that could be found for the MTA,” Riccio testified yesterday at a Manhattan hearing of the state Commission on MTA Financing.

The commission, formed by Gov. Paterson and chaired by Richard Ravitch, is expected to release in December a report recommending how state and local officials can address a burgeoning transportation crisis.

The MTA’s bus and subway system is bursting at the seams. It’s facing huge gaps in its operating and capital budgets. The city’s population, according to some experts, will grow by 1 million over the next decade or so.

Riccio said he believes his scheme wouldn’t require approval by either the state Legislature or City Council because the MTA is authorized by its charter to buy “transit facilities” and impose tolls. The Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges support subway lines and can be considered transit facilities, he said.

Click here to read the complete report.

I’m sorry but I can’t support any sort of plan which is finding a way to replicate parts of the ridiculous & shortsighted congestion pricing plan. While this is considered a “lite” version of the original plan, it still unfairly attempts to “Rob Peter to pay Paul” & that is not the way to go about doing things. I also can’t picture the city going for this especially since Mayor Bloomberg has lashed out at the proposal (more on that in the next entry).

This idea does not seem to be going over well based on the responses to the Daily News Article as most are against the idea. While I can understand the sentiment against the idea, I am concerned about the attitude of some towards any possible ideas. The attitude or thinking displayed by responder “streetz” who said:

I am with you, Dave P. Famous, I live 10 minutes from lower Mahattan. I want to jump on one of those free bridges, run to the city, and come right home. I dont give a hoot about the bus service in Rockland, nor Bridgeport, nor Fiji for that matter. All that equates to, is a free ride from the suburbs at my time and expense (wait times and tolls).

For people, most of whom have the money and cars to make the trips in other ways. Their trips dont even entail the use of the east river crossings. How ill is that? You must be crazy to think the people of Bklyn, Queens and LI want to subsidize Suburban express trains, and rising MTA pensions and salaries. Thats the real issue. Free rides for suburbanites, and clears streets for Manhattans’ richest, all at the expense of the working class of bk, queens, and western LI.

is concerning as it is nothing but a detriment towards the goal of better mass transit. How are things supposed to change when people can’t grasp the concept of how a properly funded & operated transit infrastructure benefits everyone? The fight continues on…….

xoxo Transit Blogger

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