Kellner to Ravitch: Don’t Bother Proposing East River Bridge Tolls

kellner.jpgAdd Micah Kellner’s name to the MTA doomsday scorecard. Yesterday, the Upper East Side Assembly member came out in favor of increasing license and registration fees for New York drivers as a transit revenue booster.

Under the Kellner plan, which originated with the non-profit Citizens Budget Commission, motorists would pay flat fees, rather than the weight-based assessments recently proposed by city comptroller William Thompson. Kellner says the new fees would raise $550 million a year — a little more than the income projected from tolls on the now "free" East River bridges.

On that note, Kellner’s press release includes this odd passage:

"Early indications suggest that the Ravitch Commission will announce Friday that tolls on the East River bridges are the centerpiece of their recommendations. This is a proposal that has been recycled time and again in each and every fiscal crisis but has always failed to gain the necessary support to be implemented. I don’t know why they think this time will be any different, but I am hopeful that the Governor’s office will look to other ideas like this one and reinstituting the commuter tax as he constructs his Executive budget."

Could it be that the idea of imposing East River bridge tolls is "recycled time and again" because it’s a proven and equitable course of action? Rather than take a stance for or against, Kellner characterizes new tolls as a non-starter — as if, as an elected state representative, he himself is in no position to influence the issue.

Sounds all too familiar.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Pols Skeptical Ahead of Ravitch Report Release

|
The much-anticipated report from the Ravitch Commission is scheduled to be released within the hour. The report is expected to include recommendations for an eight percent increase in transit fares along with tolls on East River and, possibly, Harlem River bridges — measures deemed necessary to avert the MTA "doomsday" scenario of a 23 percent […]

Needed: A Better Way to Sweeten the Ravitch Plan

|
Wondering how the revised version of the Ravitch plan compares to what’s come before? Here’s a look at the tweaks proposed yesterday by the Ravitch Commission: East and Harlem River bridge tolls of $2.16 each way with EZ Pass, $2.50 without. 50-cent taxi fare surcharge. A higher tax rate on parking in Manhattan. Revenue from […]

The Complete Guide to the Final Move NY Plan

|
After years of fine-tuning, the Move NY coalition has released the final details of its plan to reduce congestion and fund transit by reforming New York City’s dysfunctional toll system [PDF]. We’ll have a full report from the launch event later today. In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of the proposal in all its detail. […]

Robert Rodriguez Introduces Toll Reform Bill in State Assembly

|
For the first time, a state legislator is sponsoring legislation in Albany to enact the Move NY toll reform plan. By creating a more rational toll system in New York City, the plan would significantly reduce traffic and raise revenue to invest in improving transit. Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez introduced a bill today, A09633, that would […]

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!). […]

Fair Tolls: Fixing NYC’s Gridlock and Transit Shortfall in One Fell Swoop

|
When Governor Nelson Rockefeller merged New York’s commuter rail lines, the NYC Transit Authority, and Robert Moses’s Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority to form the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1968, he had several motives. The new agency consolidated political power, made more efficient use of regional infrastructure, and devoted surplus bridge and tunnel toll revenues […]