Move NY Toll Reform Picks Up Eight Sponsors in Assembly

Momentum is building in the state assembly for the Move NY toll reform plan. Image: Move NY
Momentum is building in the Assembly for the Move NY toll reform plan. Image: Move NY

Eight more Assembly members are supporting the Move NY toll reform plan, which would cut traffic and raise revenue for transit by increasing the price of driving into the Manhattan core while lowering tolls on outlying bridges. The Move NY bill (A09633) now has 23 sponsors in the 150-member Assembly and four (all Democrats) in the Republican-controlled, 62-member State Senate.

East Harlem Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez introduced legislation in March based on the plan. At the time it had 15 sponsors in the Assembly. A little more than 50 are needed to secure a majority of votes representing the 12-county MTA service region.

Today the coalition announced the support of eight additional assembly members from across the New York metropolitan region: Brian Kavanaugh of Manhattan; Annette Robinson of Brooklyn; Vivian Cook of eastern Queens; Tom Abinanti, David Buchwald, and Amy Paulin of Westchester County; and Earlene Hooper and Fred W. Thiele, Jr. of Long Island.

Two of those legislators — Cook and Hooper — decided to get behind the plan without meeting with proponents, Move NY campaign director Alex Matthiessen told Streetsblog.

“We think the fact that this bill continues to attract attention and assembly members are coming forward to support the plan and put their name on the bill — it suggests that we have growing momentum,” Matthiessen said.

Under the legislation, new toll revenue would be invested in the region’s transportation infrastructure, with $7.3 billion going to the MTA’s five-year capital plan and $4.5 billion going to a new entity called the Transit Gap Investment Fund, which would direct $3.5 billion to subway and bus network improvements and $1 billion to transit access and streetscape improvements in the city. Another $700 million would fund transit improvements in Long Island and the Hudson Valley.

With today’s co-sponsor announcement, the Move NY Coalition also said that Rodriguez will amend the bill to set up separate Transit Gap Investment Fund boards for Long Island and the Hudson Valley, each backed by $350 million.

Mattheissen said the increased local control will hopefully bring more suburban legislators on board. “We didn’t make those changes in a vacuum. We heard from elected officials in the suburbs that they liked the bill but these changes would make it easier for them to give their support.”

Matthiessen expects more legislators from the 12 counties served by the MTA to sign on as co-sponsors in the coming week. In the meantime, he is focused on finding a sponsor in the State Senate.

Ultimately, any campaign for toll reform has to convince Governor Cuomo to sign on. Cuomo has previously said he doesn’t believe the plan is politically viable, but every new sponsor is a chink in that argument.

  • Jared R

    Streetsblog should be sharing the New York State SmartParticipation portal, where constituents (voters) can leave messages for the Assembly and Senate. It is imperative that both houses understand the necessity of the legislation and that there is broad support in NYC and its suburbs. The portal is here: http://nyc.smartparticipation.com/proposals/proposed-move-ny-fair-plan-legislation

  • Vooch

    30% of motirists crossing East River Bridges have no Manhattan destination

  • AnoNYC

    http://nyc.smartparticipation.com/

    Official MoveNY forum, please comment.

    Edit: Didn’t see the link below but yes, please comment in support.

  • Inspector Spacetime

    Is there a sense for how many of those motorists ultimately chose an East River bridge crossing because there’s currently no fee?

  • Vooch

    likely all of them

  • reasonableexplanation

    Tone your drive hate down a few notches dude. Toll shopping is a thing, but so is …you know, the fastest route. If you’re coming from LI or south Brooklyn and going to NJ or points beyond the tunnels make sense, but if you’re in say for example; Williamsburg/Greenpoint, no reason to go out of your way to get to the tunnels.

    A good chunk of people just follow what their GPS says anyway, which will simply give you the best current route by default.

  • Vooch

    once those bridges ramps are sold for high rise housing and a couple of bridge lanes are reallocated for the 7xs more efficent mobility option ( aka cyclists ) and the BQE is sold off to build 100,000 units of housing and MoveNY is in place…

    I’m thinking that the GPS won’t be telling drivers to use Manhattan as a short cut. 🙂

    I love private motor vehicles really I do. They are a perfect mobility solution for Siberia or Alberta

  • reasonableexplanation

    So, uh… we were talking about people driving through manhattan, remember?
    “30% of motirists crossing East River Bridges have no Manhattan destination”

    Like I said, reel it back a bit.
    I was commenting on the ridiculousness of your claim that all/most of them are using the bridges becuase they’re free as opposed to…because they’re the most direct route of of NYC.

    All of the mobility options that you present are intra-city, and have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

  • Vooch

    moveNY

  • reasonableexplanation

    Yes moveNY

  • AnoNYC

    I agree, a substantial chunk of traffic is definitely dodging the tolls.

    A lot of traffic coming off the ramp at Van Dam St on the LIE despite the Queens-Midtown Tunnel being clear. Then the approach to the Queensboro Bridge is constantly gridlocked.

    Another is the Willis Ave bridge approach on the Bruckner Expressway. The Tri-boro ramp is almost always clear but traffic is backed up on its way to E 135th St. On the opposite side, a lot of traffic using that FDR south ramp.

  • Vooch

    figure 3/4 of the 30% or 22% of East River Bridge Motor Traffic (550k total)

    so MoveNY might eliminate at least 120k motor vehicles from using Manhattan as a short cut,

  • Keon

    Why are the 60th St tolls both ways? Why on Earth should I have to pay to LEAVE the CBD? I think all bridges and tunnels should be one way tolling.

  • Shqipe

    Well who is going to get a pay raise I am guessing all the fat cats that run the MTA they need all the money they can get . Who is really checking MTA income expenses I lived in NYC for over 45 years and I don’t like the idea of being chased out of the city that I love with fullish tolls what is wrong with building more bridges across the east river or a direct tune in to NJ. A nickel here a dime there and maybe MoveNY stands for move out nyc .

  • Maggie

    Do you still live here? When is the last time you took the subway? When is the last time you drove into Manhattan?

  • Vooch

    drivers refuse to pay for new bridges – that’s why they don’t get built

  • Shqipe

    I take the subway every day to work. If nyc was in let’s say Arizona what type of tolls would they hit us with . Money is wasted by the MTA left and right who is checking how the money is being used where can the public have a view the MTA incom and expense every one there is over paid. It simply cheaper to give taxi voucher for the handicap than maintaining all those elevators that keap on braking down.

  • Maggie

    I think you raise fair points, MTA construction costs are incredibly high and oversight needs to be better.

    I still support Move NY, for nothing else, to manage and fairly price the unsustainable congestion in core Manhattan. Also it’s more equitable across boroughs.

  • neroden

    Does this eliminate the “eastbound on the Verazanno, westbound through Manhattan, no tolls” loophole which the truckers use? That’s the most important thing to change.

    It looks like it does eliminate this.

  • neroden

    You take the subway every day to work? Then the tolls won’t affect you at all, unless your job is as a trucker.

    Also, you do know the taxis in NYC are NOT WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE? Most handicapped people would love to take taxis, but they can’t. This has been a fight which has been going on for over 20 years.

  • neroden

    Um, “driver hate”?!?

    It’s pretty clear that the huge westbound traffic across Canal Street is mostly toll-shoppers. Get rid of it by fixing the toll system. The Verazanno is faster.

  • neroden

    But going west on the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges is never the most direct route out of NYC.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Well, you nailed the first part: If you’re going to Hoboken or parts nearby it most def. is the most direct route. A lot of people go to those areas, by the way.

    But look, there are 4 ways to get from points east to the mainland: Verazzano, Manhattan, GWB/Cross Bronx, or Tappan Zee. If you’re going North-ish, The Tappan-Zee works. If you live in Eastern queens or beyond the GWB route often makes sense, but for everyone else in Brooklyn and Queens… it’s manhattan or VNB. Especially given the recent construction on the SIE, it often makes sense to bypass through Manhattan.

    Whenever I drive west I let waze do the route planning, and honestly, about half the time going through manhattan is faster than the other bridges.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Yes, driver hate, read up the thread a bit to see what I mean.

    But look, there are 4 ways to get from points east to the mainland: Verazzano, Manhattan, GWB/Cross Bronx, or Tappan Zee. If you’re going North-ish, The Tappan-Zee works. If you live in Eastern queens or beyond the GWB route often makes sense, but for everyone else in Brooklyn and Queens… it’s manhattan or VNB. Especially given the recent construction on the SIE, it often makes sense to bypass through Manhattan.

    Whenever I drive west I let waze do the route planning, and honestly, about half the time going through manhattan is faster than the other bridges. And I ain’t toll shopping, just time shopping.

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