Drivers would have to begin paying tolls on the four East River bridges if a transit advocacy group has its way, but the plan already is facing some obstacles, including an unenthusiastic governor. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.
A new proposal calling for tolls on the four East River bridges is getting a cold shoulder from many drivers.
Borenstein: How will your passengers feel about it?
Taxi driver: I think they'll complain like they always do.
A transit advocacy group called Move NY said its plan would raise $1.5 billion a year to improve the city's roads, bridges and mass transit, while also easing congestion in Manhattan.
It's not only drivers who are unhappy. The toll plan would require approval from city and state lawmakers, and on Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo did not exactly embrace the idea. He said nothing had changed since a tolling plan proposed by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg several years ago was defeated.
"The politics on it were very, very difficult last time, and there was a lot of discussion, and it went nowhere, and I don't think anything has happened since then that will have changed that political dynamic," Cuomo said.
Under the proposal, drivers on the four East River bridges would pay $8 cash, or $5.54 with E-ZPass, in each direction. Tolls on major MTA bridges, like the Throgs Neck and the Verrazano, would be reduced to match the new East River tolls. Drivers crossing 60th Street in Manhattan also would be tolled.
Proponents say one uniform toll everywhere would ease congestion at the bridges that are now free
"You essentially create a much fairer tolling system and you smooth out traffic across the region, and by simply creating a fairer tolling system, you unleash a substantial amount of revenues," said Alex Matthiessen, campaign director with Move NY.
Some business groups support the idea or say it's worth considering, arguing that traffic congestion, and poorly maintained roads and bridges hurts the economy.
"It's the same price, basically, as a round-trip on the subway. So why are we charging people to go into Manhattan by subway and not by car?" said Erik Engquist, assistant managing editor with Crain's New York Business.