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Is tolls on the East River & Harlem River Bridges the only way to save the MTA cuts?

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Are tolls on the remaining East River and Harlem River Bridges from Manhattan-'3' outer boros the last hope to stop the doomesday budget proposed by the MTA to start as early as this June. NY State Assembly leader heldon Silver arguably now the 2nd most important political leader in Albany, who earlier 'opposed' congestion pricing now supports this.

The toll would be 'no more than price of a subway/bus fare' according to him.

 

Both WCBS-TV Ch.2 and the NY Daily News are reporting, Silver, Gov. Paterson are in talks with oppopents of tolls on the propsed bridges such as Brooklyn BP Marty Marowitz and several Assembly Memebers and State Senators to make a deal.

 

Here the Daily News article.

 

Sheldon Silver proposes $2 toll plan for East River bridges

 

BY Glenn Blain In Albany and Pete Donohue In New York

NY DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

 

Thursday, February 26th 2009

 

 

 

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Wednesday night proposed putting tolls on the East River bridges equal to the price of a subway ride, currently $2.

 

Silver pitched the proposal to his Assembly colleagues gathered to discuss the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's fiscal crisis. Silver has changed his tune since he refsed a vote in an earlier propsal of 'congestion pricing' in which the city would have gotten at least $250 Million from the Federal Government for improved mass transit access.

 

A bailout plan drafted by former MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch recommends East River tolls matching those at MTA crossings like the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. Drivers with E-ZPass pay $4.15 to cross that span.

 

The Bridges in question include the Brooklyn Bridge, the Williamsburg, the Queensboro, 1st aka Willis Avenue, 3rd Avenue and Madison Avenues Bridges.Other Crossings further uptown and in the Bronx such as the Macoms Dam, University Heights(Fordham Road)and Broadway Bridges are now planned still plan to be free.

 

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky billed Silver's proposal as progress in the bid to avoid huge fare hikes and severe service cuts the MTA says will be necessary later this year without a massive bailout.

 

"It was attractive to people who had problems with the other proposal, but there were a great variety of opinions," Brodsky (D-Westchester) said of the lower-priced tolling concept. "We are in the process of building consensus. That doesn't happen in one meeting."

 

Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) didn't reject the Silver proposal but wasn't completely sold, either.

 

"Honestly, I'm still evaluating it," Gianaris said. "This idea is certainly better than the Ravitch plan, but I remain very apprehensive about any tolls on the East River crossings."

 

Tolls disproportionately affect the people of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, Gianaris said.

 

Proponents dispute that argument, saying any successful bailout would include higher contributions from many others, like bus and subway riders in the form of modest fare hikes.

 

Faced with a $1.2 billion operating budget deficit and no money for its next capital construction program, the MTA in December adopted a "draconian" budget.

 

It includes hikes raising fare and toll revenues by 23% - potentially resulting in a $103 price tag for a monthly MetroCard now costing $81.

 

The doomsday budget also would eliminate 21 local bus routes, shut down the W and Z subway lines and close a handful of lower Manhattan subway stations on the Bway Line (N) & (R) routes during the overnight shift between Canal Street and Dekalb Ave Brooklyn.

 

Senate Democrats also met to discuss the Ravitch plan and the plight facing more than 8 million daily subway, bus and commuter train riders.

 

No matter what the cost, some said they wouldn't support East River bridge tolls, making it difficult for approval. Democrats hold a 32-to-30 majority in the Senate. No Republicans have expressed support for tolls. Silver, Gov Paterson are in talks with most of the Borough Presidents and Assembly Members who opposed the oringal congestion pricing on this new toll plan.

 

c)2009 NY Daily News.

 

Personally i think this propsed toll should be 'rush hour'only similar to the oringal congestion pricing plan and make it 'free' for cars with 3 or more passengers. Silver is the current NY Politican i can't stand the most. Any reactions?

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we do not need toll - both bridges on east side.

 

 

i would like to see if subway - bus fare be increased to $2.50

by may 2009

 

 

and there be :

 

 

3 day unlimited metrocard ( price $17.00)

 

30 days unlimited metrocard; $93.00

( no point increasing to $105.00

 

 

2 day unlimited metrocard ( price $11.50)

 

there should be a 2 day unlimited metrocard and 3 day unlimited metrocard:

 

1 day unlimited metrocard for express bus;

 

having a 2 day or 3 day unlimted metrocard will be better.

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there is no point MTA NYCT harrsing people that there going to be service

cuts bus and subway line and toll both east side bridges.

 

 

just increased the fare to $2.50. ( bus ans subway fare)

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there is no point having E-Z PASS on MTA NYCT port authrotiy

bridges)

 

 

E-Z PASS should removed some of the New Jersey turnpike.

 

 

there is no point giving discount to people.

 

when the E-z PASS that people use for the car ( when is the money

finish MTA NYCT might charge you or send you letter.

 

some of them might be fined letter.

or money you need to pay

 

(5) to bowling Green

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there is no point having E-Z PASS on MTA NYCT port authrotiy

bridges)

 

 

E-Z PASS should removed some of the New Jersey turnpike.

 

 

there is no point giving discount to people.

 

when the E-z PASS that people use for the car ( when is the money

finish MTA NYCT might charge you or send you letter.

 

some of them might be fined letter.

or money you need to pay

 

(5) to bowling Green

 

Welcome to the boards. Intresting comments. Just a bit of advice. No need to post 3x on same topic kngmn 91999. If you wanted feel free to comment in '1' post even if it's very long. Thanks

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Tolls, yes. If they don't like it, they can ride the subway or other train.

 

- A

 

 

I own a car myself and I dont mind paying a toll to go to Manhattan weekdays. Most of the time going to Midtown i usually take metro north anyhow. Personally on the other hand since traffic is much lighter the tolls should be free weekdays after 8pm and all times weekends and major holiday IMOs.

 

Or how about this radical idea? My Brother in Law Brooklyn born and now lives in Southern California made an intresting idea. He actually believes people living in all of Manhattan south of 110th St from 1st-10th Avenue should not be allowed to own or have a car period. He also a 1-time MTA Mechanic who served in the 1991 Gulf War.

Cars could only use streets in this zone like the West Side Highway and FDR Drive.

 

My sister's hubby is also a consertative too and supports tolls 24/7. In exchange Manhattan resdents could use local buses for free only within the boro and the subways for 1/2 fare of the current fare. Also a part of the tolls goes to running the buses in Manhattan 24/7 at headways at 15 minutes or less at all times.

What you guys think of my Brother in Law's proposals.

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I think it's better to place tolls on the free bridges than raising subway fare. People who use the free bridges have the option of public transportation, but that doesn't necessarily work the same vice versa. By putting tolls on the bridges, you're being fair to the majority.

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Again what those in places like Brooklyn and Queens in which if the East River bridges gets 'tolls' the only way to get to 'outside world' driving is paying tolls?

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Again what those in places like Brooklyn and Queens in which if the East River bridges gets 'tolls' the only way to get to 'outside world' driving is paying tolls?

 

They can take the train from NYP or GCT. Hop the subway or a bus to get there. If you can figure out how to operate a private vehicle, you can certainly figure out how to board a bus or train & hand over the proper $ or swipe metrocard. People take personal transportation completely for granted and is the #2 use of fossil fuels, add in road rage, poor driving skills, tiredness or illness impairing your ability to operate the vehicle and you can see why i dont want a car.

 

That being said, we would need far more parking garages (the ones at trenton's rail station has massive solar panels on the top level) to sustain car/van+rail. You think the ARC project needs doing, try finding a parking spot. Expand parking, impose more tolls, gas tax increase, get more funding for rail & light rail & BRT and people will be better off & less likely to cause a 14 vehicle pileup delaying thousands of people hours on their way to/from wherever.

 

There is no silver bullet, it has to be an integrated solution involving many aspects. As soon as we as a country face this fact, that's when stuff gets better. You don't ant a train going by your house at night? Move. You don't like high gas prices, well you're why we need gas at all, you and your car.

 

We can't just coast along anymore. We need to stop making life into some game of comfort and ego, and more about the greater good. Boo-hoo, a toll on a bridge. Be glad the bridge is there in the first place, whining babies.

 

- A

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They can take the train from NYP or GCT. Hop the subway or a bus to get there. If you can figure out how to operate a private vehicle, you can certainly figure out how to board a bus or train & hand over the proper $ or swipe metrocard. People take personal transportation completely for granted and is the #2 use of fossil fuels, add in road rage, poor driving skills, tiredness or illness impairing your ability to operate the vehicle and you can see why i dont want a car.

 

That being said, we would need far more parking garages (the ones at trenton's rail station has massive solar panels on the top level) to sustain car/van+rail. You think the ARC project needs doing, try finding a parking spot. Expand parking, impose more tolls, gas tax increase, get more funding for rail & light rail & BRT and people will be better off & less likely to cause a 14 vehicle pileup delaying thousands of people hours on their way to/from wherever.

 

There is no silver bullet, it has to be an integrated solution involving many aspects. As soon as we as a country face this fact, that's when stuff gets better. You don't ant a train going by your house at night? Move. You don't like high gas prices, well you're why we need gas at all, you and your car.

 

We can't just coast along anymore. We need to stop making life into some game of comfort and ego, and more about the greater good. Boo-hoo, a toll on a bridge. Be glad the bridge is there in the first place, whining babies.

 

- A

 

Metsfan you make good poiints. How do you survive without a car in Bucks County Pa? As a "Sub" Teacher/Asst Basketball Coach on a local JV High school team here upstate ny, buses dont run up here on Sundays/Major Holidays. I use my vechile to carry books or take several of players on the team on trips/pratices.

 

Metsfan you also not being fair to someone who lives in Canarise Brooklyn as a Teacher that works in Washington Heights Manhattan. They have to carry tons of books that impossible taking the train. Any reactions?

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There is also a massive logistical issue.

 

Where do you put the toll booths? Both sides of all the bridges are packed to begin with. Where do you build them, and how do you operate them so that traffic flows smoothly? Not everyone has an E-Z Pass.

 

 

Great point. I heard that the city would install e-z pass senor salelites at start of all crossings ie Brooklyn Bridge during the congestion pricing debate. I guess it would be the same in this plan too.

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An important update on proposed East River tolls that will appear in Friday's(tommorow's 2-27-09) NY Daily News.

 

Albany's Sheldon Silver leans toward okaying tolls to cross East River

BY Glenn Blain and Pete Donohue

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

 

Friday, February 27 2009

 

 

 

The Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges may get tolls in order to fight off increased fares as part of an Albany plan to aide the MTA. A plan to save straphangers from whopping fare hikes and service cuts by tolling the city's free bridges appeared to gain support among Assembly Democrats Thursday.

 

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said he was encouraged by the reception to his idea to set East and Harlem river bridge tolls at the same price as a subway ride, now $2.

 

"I'm moving forward because I received a lot of positive feedback from the members," Silver said.

 

"While there's been no final conclusion, so far there's been a fairly positive reaction."

 

Silver said he favors tolls in each direction to mirror bus and subway travel.

 

The plan is part of a larger MTA bailout package that also includes an employer-paid payroll tax.

 

It is meeting stiff opposition from Senate Democrats, who have raised the spectre of a commuter tax instead.

 

Legislation would require approval by the Senate, where the slim Democratic 32-30 majority leaves no room for dissent.

 

The MTA runs the nation's largest mass transportation network, carrying more than 8 million subway, bus and commuter train riders each weekday.

 

Transit officials say massive budget gaps and a legal mandate to pass a balanced budget leave few choices.

 

The MTA board in December adopted a doomsday budget with fare and toll hikes as high as 23%. Fare hikes would begin in June with a monthly MetroCard, now $81, possibly rising to $103.

 

Service cuts, which would hit in May, include eliminating 21 local bus routes, closing a handful of lower Manhattan subway stations overnight and shutting two subway lines.

 

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a Westchester Democrat, described Silver's proposal as "an enormous step in the right direction."

 

"I think you are seeing the Assembly move toward a consensus around a specific plan," Brodsky said.

 

Brodsky and others said they were hopeful that legislation could soon emerge.

 

Gov. Paterson and other officials have said they want to settle on a bailout plan by the end of next week. Bills can't be voted on until three days after introduction.

 

The goal is not just to rescue riders but maintain and upgrade the transit network because of its importance to the regional economy.

 

Some state senators Thursday said they were considering raising the possibility of a commuter tax paid by out-of-city railroad riders as an alternative to tolls.

 

Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) was one of several Democrats who remained adamantly opposed to tolls. Kruger district includes Canarise which has no direct subway service in most of that area.

 

He called them an unfair tax on outer-borough residents and said business owners shouldn't have to pay to work, visit doctors or make other trips.

 

c)2008 NY Daily News gblain@nydailynews.com

 

 

Any more comments?

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Metsfan you make good poiints. How do you survive without a car in Bucks County Pa? As a "Sub" Teacher/Asst Basketball Coach on a local JV High school team here upstate ny, buses dont run up here on Sundays/Major Holidays. I use my vechile to carry books or take several of players on the team on trips/pratices.

 

Metsfan you also not being fair to someone who lives in Canarise Brooklyn as a Teacher that works in Washington Heights Manhattan. They have to carry tons of books that impossible taking the train. Any reactions?

 

Put them in a properly configured rolling luggage case. I usually either ride my bike or i get a ride & pay them gas $. I do understand that people sometimes have to move things that are bulky or not practical to carry in your hands, but if messengers & package delivery clerks can do it, a teacher should at least attempt to work out a system that works for them. Car-share also is another thing that works for thousands in other cities. Teacher specific car share maybe? There are options. ;)

 

- A

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This is BS. Tolls are essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul. Motorists shouldn't have to pay for a mode of transportation they don't use.

 

It's their choice not to use something available. I'd love to see NYC get by a week with no subway or bus.

 

- A

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Some people may live in areas not directly accessible by mass transit. Other simply don't feel like riding the subway for various reasons. A motorist who never set foot in the subway shouldn't have to subsidize it.

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It's their choice not to use something available. I'd love to see NYC get by a week with no subway or bus.

 

- A

 

What made the city almost a disater this decade was not even 9/11. The NYC citywide transit strike in Mid Decemeber 2005 almost brought the city to its knees during the Christmas Holiday Season.

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What made the city almost a disater this decade was not even 9/11. The NYC citywide transit strike in Mid Decemeber 2005 almost brought the city to its knees during the Christmas Holiday Season.

 

Speaking of 9/11, how do you think people evacuated downtown? I can tell you it wasn't in their car.

 

Where we are now vs where we could be will mean people driving a lot less, but doesn't mean it will be perfect, and the transition will be painful adjustment for some, but better painful adjustment now than FORCED adjustment when fuel prices skyrocket and dont come back down and we end up having lines out the subway entrance & down the street.

 

- A

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