Car-happy city folk are sure to grumble over this latest proposal from MoveNY to toll four East River bridges (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Queensboro) and 60th Street in Manhattan. The group’s plan, backed by former traffic commissioner Sam Schwartz, is looking to raise funds for the MTA’s five-year capital plan (which is about $15.2 billion short of its target), and to make the cost of the city’s transit more equitable. The new program would apply a $5.54 toll each way for bridge-crossers traveling with an E-ZPass, while drivers without an E-Zpass will have to shell out $8 to cross each time. The same tolls would also be applied to all avenue crossings at 60th Street.
The argument for the new tolls comes in anticipation of the MTA fare hike, which the group says unfairly burdens New Yorkers with limited mass-transit options. The four bridges targeted in the proposal originate in locales that have plentiful subway access, while other bridges in the city serving less connected areas like Staten Island or the Bronx are heavily tolled. The MoveNY proposal would also address this gap by reducing tolls to $3.04 in each direction on bridges connecting areas with limited public transit—this includes Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and the Throgs Neck Bridge, among others. The proposal also calls for a new taxi and app-based car services surcharge below 96th Street and removes a parking tax exemption for Manhattan residents.
“[The plan] is the only comprehensive proposal that addresses the three interrelated challenges of generating funds for transportation, correcting regressive tolling policies, and reducing traffic congestion,” according to the report.
If the proposal has legs, the additional revenue that would be generated from tolls is estimated to be about $1.5 billion. $375 million of the money would go to bridge and road improvements, while the remaining $1.1 billion would help fill a $15.2 billion funding gap in the MTA’s five-year capital plan to improve mass transit. The MoveNY proposal also reports that the plan will create another 30,000 jobs annually for the region.