Public Advocate de Blasio Open to Bridge Tolls to Fund Transit

BilldeBlasioHeadshot.jpgYesterday, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio organized volunteers to campaign for student MetroCards at 20 subway stations across the city. We were encouraged by his decision to focus attention on legislators in Albany, and we had one big question: What funding solutions does the public advocate envision for the recession-battered MTA and the millions of riders who count on it?

Here’s the answer we just received from a de Blasio spokesperson:

Given the MTA’s current fiscal outlook, Public Advocate de Blasio believes that our City and State have to make tough choices. The Governor and the State Legislature should not reduce payroll taxes while forcing the City to pay more than its fair share, especially since upstate communities also benefit from the MTA. We should look at other options such as stimulus funding, weight based registration fees or reviving Speaker Silver’s proposal to impose bridge tolls that are tied to the cost of subway fares. But over the long term the MTA must be more accountable and responsible with managing its budget.

De Blasio supported East River bridge tolls in 2009, after voting "no" on congestion pricing as a City Council member the year before. Weight-based registration fees were first proposed by former city comptroller Bill Thompson in late 2008.

Bridge tolls were the missing element in the MTA funding package passed by Albany last spring. By signaling support for them now, de Blasio could create room for a more comprehensive transit funding solution than any other New York politician has put forward during the current crisis.

  • The Dynamic Mumeshantz

    This is truly incredible. A good start Mr. De Blaiso, a public advocate saying what is best for New Yorkers. Just what the job is supposed to be.

  • mike

    Except no one is proposing this again- and when he had a chance to stand up for congestion pricing he cowered because he was still running for Boro President.

  • Glenn

    It’s nice to see a public advocate that is trying to represent the whole city…

  • NYCPA Worker

    Everything he does has a populist twist to it (but what can you expect from an ex-Edwards supporter). The last line that our communications director wrote on his behalf:

    “But over the long term the MTA must be more accountable and responsible with managing its budget.”

    …just reeks of cowardice. De Blasio is smart enough to know that the MTA isn’t at fault for the student MetroCard issue, and that, if anything, they should be applauded for maintaining the program despite the state and the city dropping contributions over the years. But if he doesn’t find a way to blame the MTA, he won’t be viewed as the public ass-kisser that he needs to be.

    The truth is, De Blasio has no idea what he’s doing and relies on his department directors to explain even the most simple things to him.

    It would be nice if he viewed the office as an entity which can seriously mobilize policy change, and not as a faux-bully pulpit for populist whims, helping position him for a 2012 run at the mayor’s office.

    If anyone is expecting anything good to come from this statement, or any other that the office releases, you will be severely disappointed.

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