Crain’s: East River Bridge Tolls Should Complement Commuter Tax

On Sunday, the editors of Crain’s proposed that a reinstatement of the commuter tax, as called for by several local pols — including Sheldon Silver, who helped kill it in 1999 — should be considered in concert with, and not instead of, tolls on East River bridges. The editorial is behind the pay wall, so here is an excerpt:

Soaking suburbanites to reduce the burden on city residents is a political nonstarter … An
end to the political stalemate requires recognizing that both sides in
this debate have strong arguments. There is some truth to the belief of
New York City residents that suburbanites use many city services and
should contribute something to the city in which they work. Commuters
are also right in saying they already pay their share with purchases
that boost sales taxes. In addition, their state taxes are diverted
from the wealthy suburbs to the city.

So what common interests
do the two groups share? The desire to preserve affordable mass
transit, something that is in jeopardy given the MTA’s huge budget
deficit and its proposal to hike fares by 23%. The sensible compromise
is to adopt both the commuter tax and East River tolls and dedicate the
money to the MTA to hold down fare increases and fund a vitally needed
capital program.

Crain’s is right in that city-based politicians have nothing to lose by proposing a tax on those outside their districts, while asking nothing of their own car-commuting constituents who also benefit from a thriving mass transit system. But will any of them step up and recommend both?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Where They Stand, Or Don’t: The MTA Doomsday Scorecard

|
Rhetorically speaking, it’s often easier to be against something than to stand in support of it. This could be why, with one or two possible exceptions, the political players in the MTA "doomsday" drama have so far gained the most media attention by, say, shouting down bridge tolls (Yay!) or getting a shoe shine (Boo!). […]

New Spin: Save the Mayor’s Congestion Plan by Modifying It

|
Congestion Mitigation Commission chairman Marc Shaw has a big job ahead of him. Newsflash from Crain’s New York: Congestion pricing is politically challenging: While I don’t think any Streetsblog reader will be shocked by that big scoop, there are still some interesting tidbits in here. The Traffic Mitigation Commission has a new mandate, Greg David […]

Bill de Blasio Comes Out for $2 East River Bridge Tolls

|
Late last week, Brooklyn City Council member and current candidate for public advocate Bill de Blasio released this statement on MTA funding: "In just two months, New York City commuters will face drastic fare hikes and service cuts unless our state government solves the MTA’s budget crisis. Time is running out and Albany needs to […]

Weiner Says New York Drivers Should Be Exempt From Tolls

|
Congressman Anthony Weiner released his own MTA rescue plan today. As if that in itself weren’t surprising enough, the outspoken toll opponent has modified his position, sort of. City Room reports: [Weiner] said on Monday that making new tolls — which he would set at $4.15 — payable only by non-city residents would be a […]