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Trainspotter

304 million vehicles flooded bridges, tunnels despite higher gas prices

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304 million vehicles flooded bridges, tunnels despite higher gas prices

BY PETE DONOHUE

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

February 23rd 2008

 

[float=right]amd_tunnel.jpg

Turnbull/News

Despite souring gas prices and looming toll

hikes, not to mention the threat of congestion

pricing, vehicles continued to indudate the

city last year.

[/float]High gas prices and impending toll hikes haven't convinced drivers to abandon their cars, as a record number of vehicles used area bridges and unnels last year, officials said.

 

An all-time high of 304.3 million cars and trucks used the MTA's nine bridges and tunnels in 2007, according to its bridge and tunnel division.

 

The previous record in the 72-year history of MTA Bridges and Tunnels was 303 million, set in 2004, division spokeswoman Joyce Mulvaney said.

 

The 2007 tally was a 0.74% increase over the prior year.

 

MTA subway, bus and commuter railroad operations all saw increases last year and "we're following suit," Mulvaney said. "People keep coming to New York, no matter how expensive it is."

 

Part of the increase is tied to the local economy, experts said. Employment in the city rose 1.5% last year with the addition of 54,500 jobs, according to a report compiled recently by the authority.

 

With the uptick, the city has regained all of the jobs lost during the last recession, according to the report.

 

In December, the MTA approved higher tolls, which go into effect on March 16. Mass transit hikes arrive earlier in March.

 

Mayor Bloomberg also has pushed a proposal to charge drivers $8 to go below 60th St. in Manhattan as a way to reduce traffic in Manhattan, trim pollution and generate big bucks for mass transit expansion projects.

 

The so-called congestion pricing proposal needs approval by the state Legislature and City Council.

 

Opponents of the proposal say tolls and taxes already are too big a burden, it would hurt area businesses and create traffic in outlying neighborhoods where drivers might seek to park.

 

But supporters seized on the bridge and tunnel data to press their case.

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if people can afford the extra price for gas, then im sure they can afford the extra tolls.

 

i doubt the people aren't going to give up their cars without a fight.

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if people can afford the extra price for gas, then im sure they can afford the extra tolls.

 

i doubt the people aren't going to give up their cars without a fight.

 

Do one day of overtime or a few extra hours a couple of days, and you can afford it.......

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Some people aren't just accustomed to public transportation so they'll deal with the cars and the gas and the tolls. They need to pay up too just like the rest of us.

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