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Plan That Would Toll Queensboro Bridge Introduced In Assembly

Queensboro

March 28, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge

A controversial plan to toll the free East River Bridges is under official consideration by State lawmakers.

The proposal, unveiled by the coalition Move NY last February, would introduce tolls on the Queensboro and other East River bridges of $5.54 each way with E-ZPass, or $8 without.

However the plan would also reduce fares on other major bridges, including the Triborough/RFK, by up to 48 percent.

The bill was formally introduced by Assembly Member Robert Rodriquez of Manhattan on March 23, with 14 co-sponsors.

Move NY believes that this “toll swap” would be more fair for drivers on the Triborough/RFK and other tolled bridges, who have fewer transportation alternatives. Meanwhile, the coalition charges that it would de-incentivize the Queensboro Bridge, therefore reducing congestion and pollution around Queens Plaza.

Move NY also says its plan would generate $1.35 billion annually. Per the bill text, the new revenue would go towards MTA expansion projects potentially including ferry service, subway and bus station improvements and road and bridge maintenance, among others.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address some of the biggest weaknesses in our transit system,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “This plan will provide a steady and significant source of revenue for the MTA, allow transit starved communities to fund critical improvement projects, and relieve congestion.”

However, the proposal has received a mixed reaction within Queens particularly.

Last year, nine Queens Assembly Members signed a joint statement with Borough President Melinda Katz and several other lawmakers calling the plan unfair to “families who live in the transit desert of Queens.”

In December, Jonathan Matz of Move NY acknowledged at a Community Board 2 committee meeting that “Queens will be a tough nut to crack” in

Nolan: Yet to provide comment on Move NY proposal

Nolan: Yet to provide comment on Move NY proposal

their efforts to drum up support.

State Sen. Jose Peralta is among the few Queens legislators who support the bill. Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer has also backed the plan, although his support is largely symbolic as Move NY needs to be enacted on the State level.

The Assembly bill has one Queens co-sponsor: Andrew Hevesi of Forest Hills.

Western Queens Assembly Members Aravella Simotas and Cathy Nolan could not be reached for comment on the bill as of press time.

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27 Comments

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JM

I support the toll but not to where the money is going. MTA should not get anything from these tolls and instead should go to updating traffic systems, add municipal parking, red light cameras and fixing potholes/poor roads. I mostly ride the subway but I still think it is immoral to have drivers’ tolls fund a bureaucracy that is irrelevant to them.

Reply
gill

Absolutely NOT. You NY’er’s are quick to give away money, especially others money. Tolls are inequitable and prejudicial. Collecting them is inefficient and generates pollution and traffic.

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Michael Boylan

If tolls are put on the east river bridges, the traffic jams alone near the bridges will be unbearable. Then politicians will be increasing tolls every chance they get at contract time.

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John

Hmmm, maybe the MTA fare should stay at a constant amount and only the toll would increase to make-up whatever difference is needed for the budget.

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vern

Everybody will benefit because the transit system will be better and traffic will be lower as a result. Tolls will be “equalized” – not just raised.

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John

It seems that the cost to install, maintain and staff toll booths is really inefficient. Why not remove the toll booth and increase payroll / property / income tax or whatever to make up the difference.

Yes I know “but I don’t use the bridge”. Maybe true but this is a better solution.

Reply
L Jenn

You might have almost changed my mind on the toll. If there is a toll, then the revenue should go to the MTA to lower fares.

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sad

Since the poor can not live in Manhattan why don’t we make sure they can not visit it either by car.

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Guy 47

I understand that this will be EZPass only like on the Henry Hudson Bridge. Just roll through as you do today.
People without EZpass get a bill in the mail.

Reply
Jackie

I heard some neighbors say they fear people will park in the neighborhood and take the train into Manhattan instead.

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Jackie

I live near this area and I heard some neighbors say they fear people will park in the neighborhood and take the train into Manhattan instead.

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walker

A lot of drivers use this bridge not to pay a toll. I say even the toll amount throughout the city.

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John

I was being sarcastic. If someone fears more traffic in their area because a toll is being increased in another area, then the next logical step would be to increase the other toll to be higher.

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L Jenn

Not a good idea. If a toll on the QBB causes traffic to divert to the Triborough, then there is obviously going to be an increase in Astoria Blvd traffic. There would also probably be in increase in traffic moving across Astoria to get there, from Northern Blvd, for example. It would likely change traffic patterns, including those going through residential areas and past several schools. Has anyone looked at this?

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L Jenn

No need for that tone. I DO take the subway – no driver here. BUT, having been nearly run over several times, I do not favor more cars speeding across Astoria. Thought that was obvious.

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bla

This plan is to ease congestion. They speed anyway to avoid paying a toll! Ride a bike..its free and might do you some good!

Reply
Harry Ballsagana

The whole point is to keep cars from the GCP on the RFK bridge so they are not speeding through the neighborhood.

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