Channel 13 Poll: Tolls on the East River Bridges?

Channel 13 is promoting tonight’s episode of "New York Voices" with an online poll asking, "Should there be tolls on the East River Bridges?" I don’t know. Should motorists get a free ride into Manhattan while subway riders face massive fare increases? What do you think?

The show airs at 8pm:

Tuesday night’s New York Voices will look at some recommendations put
forward by a special commission to help the MTA confront its financial
crisis. One of those proposals is to create tolls on the East and
Harlem River bridges. These tolls could help the MTA avoid major
service cuts and fare increases, and would help pay for a new regional
bus service. Are they a good idea? Tell us what you think.

  • JDogg

    The tolling is a great idea, the question is begged how to collect it?

    Using cameras to capture images of plates is fine, but to charge what account? Scofflaws? Obscured plates? EZPass?

    Implementation at what cost?

  • J. Mork
  • oscar

    i think there would be more support for tolls and even congestion pricing if the MTA didnt have such a bad track record with money management.

  • Mark

    To sell tolling politically, the public must be made to understand that drivers benefit from the transit system as much as transit riders do, and because the system is in trouble, all New Yorkers need to help pitch in to save a system we all depend on.

    Motorists benefit from the system for 2 reasons:

    1. New York City cannot compete economically without a good transit system

    2. The transit system takes the majority of commuters, puts them underground and out of the way so that a few have space on the surface to drive. If the transit system were to shut down, it would be spatially impossible to move everyone into Manhattan in motor vehicles. A single subway train at rush hour holds 1,500 people. Now imagine putting those 1,500 people into motor vehicles and onto the already congested streets of Manhattan. It just doesn’t work.

    I wish the advocates would organize some kind of imaginative protest to illustrate the point. Maybe we could all walk into Manhattan spaced out every 15 feet as if we were cars. Maybe we should organize a fare boycott—Boston Tea Party style.

  • Streetsman

    Also lost in the argument is that tolling benefits drivers. It will create a financial disincentive to driving, so many people that have other options such as mass transit, carpooling, biking or walking will not drive. There will be fewer cars on the road, particularly at the crossings, which are the choke points for the road network. Day one of bridge tolling could be the smoothest, fastest commute drivers have had in decades.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Could you be a little more specific Oscar? And if the “track record” is so unredeemable why ever fund it? Oh yeah, the little thing of the transit system they run. The Ravitch commission studied how to fund the MTA. To say the MTA has a bad record (arguable) in handling money doesn’t really answer how to fund it. I guess you prefer to bankrupt it, put you in the Littlefield crew I guess.

  • Jeff Prant

    A better question: Why were the bridges (or on-street car parking) made free in the first place?

  • Hi Jeff! It’s not clear from your question whether you already know the answer or not.

  • oscar

    niccolo, relax…i support east river tolls & congestion pricing

    all i’m saying is that the MTA has a bad reputation when it comes to maney management, and so things like this are a hard sell to the public at large…seems whenever i see polls like this, talk to people, read comments, the idea of giving money to the MTA angers them more than the idea of tolling bridges itself..and to some extent they have a point…

  • “and to some extent they have a point”

    They don’t have a point, they have a recalcitrant attitude owing to exaggerated grievances. If the MTA shuts down for any length of time they will understand that being angry about old, half-understood financial scandals does not get New York to work in the morning.


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 […]

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 […]

Blame Game Continues: Smith Swipes at MTA, Monserrate Goes Anti-Toll

There’s MTA rescue news today from the State Senate, and none of it good.  Queens Senator Hiram Monserrate, who had considered new tolls on East and Harlem River bridges acceptable as a "last resort," has flip-flopped. The Daily Politics reports that Monserrate now opposes new tolls, and faults the MTA for "failing to explain ‘specifically’ […]