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Van Bramer Backs plans to introduce Toll at Queensboro Bridge, But Make RFK Cheaper

QueensboroOct. 27, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

A controversial proposal to toll the free East River Bridges, including the Queensboro, has earned the support of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

The proposal, put forward by the coalition Move NY in 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.

Move NY believes that this “toll swap” would be more fair for drivers on the Triborough/RFK and other tolled bridges, who are supporting the free bridges despite having fewer public transportation alternatives. Meanwhile, it would deincentivize the Queensboro Bridge, therefore reducing congestion and pollution around Queens Plaza.

Move NY also says its plan would generate $1.35 billion annually, to create a consistent funding stream for the MTA’s capital plan as well as supporting public transportation expansions through, for example, select bus service or ferries.

“We’ve seen massive congestion problems both on the subway cars and platforms of the 7 train themselves, and then in addition to that, in the run up to the Queensboro Bridge,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “That’s why I am saying now we need to focus on this investment into our mass transit. The Move NY plan is the best and most responsible way to get us there.”

“This is a responsible way to ensure that the MTA’s needs are fully funded on an ongoing basis without putting a financial burden on the backs of riders,” he added.

Van Bramer joins several of his colleagues in the Council in supporting the Move NY plan; his endorsement is particularly significant due to his role as Majority Leader. Move NY Campaign Director Alex Matthiessen called his support “a nice shot in the arm.”

However, the plan has also earned a number of detractors, especially in areas of Queens where access to public transportation is scant.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has called the plan “certainly unfair to the families who live in the transit desert of Queens as it would landlock our borough.”

Katz questioned whether the plan would generate any tangible transportation upgrades for Queens residents or amount to anything more than “an interesting idea,” in an April statement co-signed by 18 Queens city and state representatives.

Ultimately, the Move NY plan would be enacted on the state level. Move NY has put forth legislative parameters aimed at preventing new revenue from being used for purposes other than transportation.

The full plan is available online here.

Reach reporter Jackie Strawbridge at [email protected]

Is Move NY’s plan worth paying a toll for?

email the author: n[email protected]

7 Comments

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Vinny G.

Let’s just stop giving politicians more money. Period. And enough already. They just can’t help themselves.

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Mary

People need to stop having babies until more people die… is what really needs to happen. Am I right? Yes, I am.

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BDR

This is the stupidest idea i have ever heard. Public transportation to the outer boroughs is HORRENDOUS. Especially on weekends. it takes over 90mins to get to the fartherst points of the Bronx and Queens. (And thats on a good day) Dont menetion waiting 30-40minutes for a bus to the subway on a weekend or night. The congestion will NOT improve. people will pay the toll and continue to drive. This is an underhanded scheme to yet again dig into the pockets of the middle class. The money never gets allocated to repairs, it goes to the MTA Executive bonuses. Have you seen the condition of our roads and bridges? They are HORRIBLE, but I am sure the MTA staff are all getting Xmas bonuses. The only people that think this is a good idea are those who ride bicycles to and from their destinations. The Port Auth has raised tolls on the NJ crossings, do you think that has slowed the flow of traffic? its an even bigger traffic jam even at 3AM!! If you want to improve things… STOP overdeveloping the brooklyn and queens waterfronts. That is what is causing the congestion! Have cheaper ferry service from Astoria Whitestone, College Point, Bayside, Greenpoint, Bay Ridge, etc. Provide Parka and Ride locations with shuttle service to ferrys. You cant run this city from a corner office

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They don't all

Get Christmas bonuses at the MTA. My husband is a superintendent there, no bonus. Maybe the big bosses get one but not all employees.

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James

I do support having a fair disbursement of tolls on all bridges, however I do not agree with the passage: “This is a responsible way to ensure that the MTA’s needs are fully funded on an ongoing basis without putting a financial burden on the backs of riders,”. It is NOT responsible for motorists to pay for public transportation that they don’t use. The toll fees should be used to fix the roads/highways which are in horrible shape along with Department of Transportation to alleviate the aggressive ticketing/towing protocols of the police.

I take public transportation and also drive, and I do not see why my tolls should go to the MTA. Conversely it would be unfair for my fares to go towards the DOT, since they have nothing to do with the MTA.

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SubwayRider

I can imagine that there are many people that just drive out here to avoid paying a toll on another bridge. I hope this will reduce some traffic in the area. Wish they made it even more expensive! However, it can also mean that people will just drive, park here and take the train to Manhattan. LOL you cant win!

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