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Queens residents favor placing a toll on Queensboro Bridge to raise revenue, data released by advocacy group reveals

Jan. 31, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

Queens residents support the placement of a toll on the Queensboro Bridge—and three other bridges—as a means to generate funding to bolster the transit system and improve roadways, according to poll data released by the activist group Transportation Alternatives.

The survey, conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, revealed that 55 percent of those Queens residents surveyed, and 54 percent of all respondents, support the addition of a toll at the Queensboro Bridge—as well as the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges—as a way to generate income for the transit system as opposed to other revenue-raising measures.

The toll on these four bridges under the proposed Move NY plan would cost $5.54 each way if paid by E-ZPass and $8 each way for other drivers.

The plan to raise tolls, which was hatched by the transportation lobby group Move NY, aims to raise revenue, decrease traffic congestion while creating a more equitable tolling structure. For instance, under the Move NY plan, the toll would be lowered at the Triborough/RFK and other existing tolled bridges.

The tolls on these bridges would be lowered by $2.50 each way.

The advocates for the Move NY plan claim that the plan would disincentivize drivers from using the Queensboro Bridge, therefore reducing congestion and pollution around Queens Plaza.

Surveyors spoke with 880 likely voters throughout the city and gave them four options as to how funds would be best raised to improve the transportation system, asking the respondents to pick their favorite.

The respondents were told ahead of time that there was a need for additional revenue and that some drivers pay high tolls to cross bridges in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island while other drivers pay no tolls at all on most bridges leading into Manhattan.

The survey offered respondents the options of raising subway and bus fares, raising taxes on all residents, introducing new tolls on bridges that lead into Manhattan that are currently without tolls, while lowering them on bridges in other locations that already have high tolls, or none of the above.

Those interviewed mostly chose the toll swapping option, with 54 percent saying they would prefer the Move NY proposal. Only six percent supported raising public transportation fares, and 16 percent supported raising taxes. 24 percent said either none of the above or they didn’t know.

“These poll results show that a wide range of New Yorkers, even those who drive, support a more equitable tolling system that would raise essential funds to strengthen transit and give communities an unprecedented say about which repair and expansion projects are most urgently needed,” said Paul White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, the group that administered the survey.

The proposal was introduced in the State Assembly and State Senate last year, and is expected to be reintroduced again this year.

The state will determine if the plan goes into effect.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose husband Dan Hendrick is on the board of Transportation Alternatives, has been an outspoken supporter of the plan.

An informal poll on this website and other Queenspost publications in 2015 revealed that more than 80 percent of the 2,100 respondents (separate IP addresses) opposed the placement of a toll on the Queensboro Bridge.

 

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18 Comments

Andriana

There are over two million people in Queens.The informal surveys were given to 880 people; they do not represent all the people of Queens.




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Peter Beadle

This plan absolutely makes sense. It rationalizes all other tolls, charges you about the same as a round trip on the subway or bus and stops toll shopping that brings large heavy trucks in to residential neighborhoods to use the free bridges – thereby improving street safety and decreasing local pollution. All while raising revenue to improve mass transit, which moves the vast majority of people throughout the City on any given day.

Its absurd to say this hurts the middle class. Very few in the middle class are driving in to Manhattan with any regularity, and asking them to pay essentially the same as the rest of us on the bus or train for the luxury of driving their polluting inefficient space-hogging personal automobile into Manhattan is not in the least bit unreasonable given the benefits doing so provides. Most of us pay everyday to get in to Manhattan [unless you bike, which is a great alternative]. There is nothing crazy about making sure drivers, whose vehicles pollute and damage the roads, do the same.

And their is nothing rigged about this poll [the Trumpesque response these days to anything you don’t like]. Most New Yorkers don’t own a car. Even in Queens, 30% of households don’t even own a car, let alone use it to commute, and that percentage increases the closer you get to Manhattan with car ownership in the Western part of Queens not much above 50%. And 52% of Queens residents use mass transit to get to work. So there are plenty of people in Queens who could see this proposal as rational. Don’t make the error of thinking everyone is just like you and that your choices are the norm.




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Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr.

Catch-22 Alert: Good for finding money to fix our existing infrastructure; bad for middle-class residents where driving is an only option, especially here in Queens.




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Astorian

This is a bull**** manipulated survey conducted in order to defend an agenda. The proposal would hurt an economy that benefits from worker and resident mobility. Yet another tax for an inefficient bureaucratic system.




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TomAstoria

Any one who agree with the proposed tolls is an idiot. sure you will save $2.50 now but they will jack the price back up in a year or two. I don’t usually takes very cabs often but cab rides back from the city to Astoria is going to be an extra $5 – $8.




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Anonymous

I think this is a fair plan, because it lowers the expensive tolls on the Triboro / George Washington bridges to the same rate as the new tolls. My only concern is that the money will be squandered by corrupt politicians and pensions when it should only be used to improve roads and transportation infrastructure.




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jenastoria

Who drives into Manhattan? If you can afford to park there, you can afford to pay a toll too.




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Anonymous

Driving in during weekends is actually a better alternative than public transportation. Although more expensive, you don’t have to wait for delayed trains during weekend MTA renovations. Especially Sunday because parking rules are not in effect (except do not stand signs).




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Astoria Resident

It doesn’t just impact the people who drive to work as their primary commute. I drive into Manhattan on Sundays when there is mostly free street parking. I frequently take a taxi home (any tolls are added on to the fare) when there are issues with the public transportation or late at night for safety. There also businesses that depend on free flow of traffic between the boroughs, which means any added costs to those business would be passed on to consumers.

Additionally, an area specific toll could have a negative impact to local real estate values (more so than a citywide MTA fare increase or across the board income tax increase). My belief is that there should be at least one toll free bridge connecting each borough to Manhattan (since this is one unified city) because all residents of the city benefit one way or another from these bridges, not just the drivers.




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Jon

I thought the same thing.

But, this probably would affect people that do work that requires driving…like delivery services, construction jobs etc.




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KR

I do. Who says I’m parking though? Dropping off or picking up someone perhaps? Penn, Grand Central, Port Authority? Cheaper than a cab, easier than the train. Big picture dear.




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Anonymous

Yes it will impact those sporadically but how often are you really picking up/dropping off people? If you were a taxi or uber driver perhaps. Big picture, dear.




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Nectarios

No. No more tolls it fare hikes you will send everyone looking to leave most original queens residents moved out because if the beuracratic New York city Government. This is all liberal bull crap. The Government employees if New York City and the MTA should get pay cuts and pension cuts rather than making barley making it residents of New York City pay their last bucks to give them golden parachutes




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SAUL GAHBIDGE

Wait. Cops, firefighters, and teachers should take pay cuts and lose their pensions so you can drive into the city for free? Keep growing your barley, buddy. Good thing you don’t vote.




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JimAngelo

While I don’t necessarily oppose the idea, but if the point is to encourage people to use public transportation, then as an Astorian, they’ve got to come up with a solution quickly. As it is, we do not have many options in my area to commute into Manhattan (N/W line, that’s it). And that line is overburdened as it is.With continued overdevelopment in the area, that line (which is very crowded as it is during rush hour), will only become worse in due time.




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