BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
One element of a broad proposal to revamp the City’s transportation system, released by the coalition Move NY on Tuesday, involves adding a toll to the Queensboro Bridge between Long Island City and Manhattan.
The “Move NY Fair Plan,” which has been finalized from a March 2014 version, seeks to save funds and create jobs by redistributing tolls on the crossings between the five boroughs.
The existing system is “unfair” and creates “skewed incentives” to fight for access to the free bridges, Move NY stated in their plan.
“‘Bridge shopping’ has severe effects on the quality of life in neighborhoods surrounding the East River bridges,” including Western Queens, the plan continued.
Per the Fair Plan document, tolls would instead be set “on a logical formula: higher tolls where transit options are most available and lower tolls where transit is either not available or a less viable option.”
This “toll swap” would translate to toll reductions of up to nearly 50 percent for E-ZPass payment and up to 30 percent for cash payment on the less-congested, seven MTA-operated bridges, including the Triborough/RFK Bridge. The Queensboro Bridge and the three other East River bridges would see fares of $5.54 for E-ZPass payment and $8 for cash payment.
Move NY argues that the Fair Plan would generate $1.5 billion per year.
The MTA did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.
Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) spoke favorably of the Move NY proposal during its announcement, calling it “a fair deal” for outer borough residents.
“We finally have a plan that my constituents can get behind. New Yorkers just want to be treated fairly,” Weprin said in a statement.
Gene Russianoff, senior attorney for NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign, said the plan would have positive ramifications for the City’s public transportation system.
“You can’t run or fix the subways and buses without money, no matter who you are,” Russianoff said. “The Move NY plan provides the dedicated revenue stream our region’s transit system desperately needs, and in a way that’s far more equitable than borrowing against the fare.”
The DOT had no comment on the Move NY Fair Toll plan.
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JNStrawbridge.