Some Politicians Rally Against Sheldon’s Toll Proposal

When it comes to the who’s who of New York politics, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is in the top echelon. So when he proposes something, people listen. This is what happened a few days ago when he countered the Ravitch Commission’s toll plan with one of his own. Now fast forward to yesterday when 20 state legislators signed a letter opposing Sheldon’s plan which they planned on delivering to him. Meredith Kolodner of the New York Daily News has more in this report:

More than 20 state legislators from the city have signed a letter opposing a plan to stave off doomsday transit cuts by imposing $2 tolls on the East and Harlem River bridges.

The lawmakers plan to deliver the letter Monday to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), who is pushing for bridge tolls to prevent massive fare hikes or service cuts.

Also elected city officials want hearings and a public debate over alternate plans, including increases on vehicle registration fees and reinstating the commuter tax.

“This plan will tend to hurt working-class families,” said Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat (D-Washington Heights). “It’s not a shared sacrifice.”

Espaillat said he favors a plan put forward by City Controller William Thompson that would charge drivers more to register their vehicles, depending on the size of the car.

Click here for the complete report.

Well I am not surprised that some elected officials have gone down the route of publicly disapproving of Sheldon’s plan. Residents of NYC know that when anyone even mutters the idea of tolling those bridges, the attack dogs come out. I have to say that I side with the leaders who are against this proposal. As I said the other day:

What is the point of implementing a lower toll if it will still lead to substantial fare hikes & service cuts due to lower revenue? The answer is clear, there would be no point at all.

While I am here, I have to acknowledge some of the rhetoric posted in the responses to Meredith’s report. I am getting sick & tired of some people who continue to pin their rhetoric on a few b.s. studies which spew out garbage of people who drive into Manhattan only do so as a luxury. For some reason, people want to spew this misguided garbage around as if it is fact. Yes, there are drivers who choose to drive & could afford toll increases without the blink of an eye, & might have adequate public transportation options available. However to spin it as if the majority of drivers fall into that category is completely irresponsible.

Let me share some of the ridiculous b.s. posted in the response section:

The opposition to tolls is full of BALONEY!!! The working people who are going to be hurt are the ones riding the subway. Very few commuters drive to Manhattan — and guess what those who do are not the poor. Wake up Daily News — how about a headline screaming about the poor who will be facing 200% subway increases?

In this recession times, people driving up to Manhattan are NOT poor. If they can afford cars, gas, parking then why not a 2 $ toll,, why dont they use subways, we have buses everywhere. We travel using subways, buses day and night must get some consideration and not to those who can still afford luxsuries in such hard times.

So if you were to believe that garbage, every person who drives into Manhattan is not poor. They must make extremely good money since driving to Manhattan is a luxury & not a necessity. Yeah ok, sure! This line of thinking is so asinine that I could be here for quite awhile poking one hole after another into it. These same people will complain when some drivers choose to stop driving & add to the ridership that is already bursting at the seams. Sorry people but you can’t have it both ways but don’t tell them that. Since we all know that the study that recently came out as to be 100% factual because people said so.

In the end, we will probably need tolls to help raise revenue for the MTA. However the plan must be thought out with all sides in mind & treated equally. Since in reality most people do not drive out of luxury as last I checked many areas in our region do not have adequate mass transit options. Oh but wait a minute that can’t be true even if common sense & actual maps/schedules tell you otherwise.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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I’d love to see you “be here awhile” poking holes in it because if no one else, why aren’t you?

No one — not a single person — is saying that 100 percent of the drivers heading into Manhattan do so because it’s a luxury. What everyone is saying — and this is an indisputable fact — is that nearly 600-1000 percent more people rely on the subways and buses than they do on some artificially “free” East River crossings. Do you really think that the same number of people drive as take the subway?

None of your argument against tolls has a rational basis in reality.

Hello Benjamin,

I never said every single person is saying that. However those in that camp make it out that the majority of drivers do so as a luxury. Such thinking is completely out of touch with reality.

All because transit options might be near where drivers reside does not automatically mean it is a viable alternative for them. However some are too extreme in their thinking to even consider that.

There has always been a war between mass transit users & drivers. Both look down on their counterpart & feel their needs are more important. I feel that both are equally important especially considering I am in both categories.

I will tell you what is not rational, the $2 toll plan proposed by Sheldon. As I said, I am a believer in either getting the job done completely or not at all. Meeting in the middle will accomplish nothing in this case as it will do more harm than good.

Unless they are ready to pitch in the difference in revenue in another manner, the full toll plan has to go through or nothing at all.

Well I must get back to running my businesses as that is where the money is at.

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