Lew Fidler Threatens to Thwart Bridge Tolls

As opposition to East and Harlem River bridge tolls is reportedly "softening" in the State Senate, Lew Fidler tells Crain’s that a transfer of city-owned crossings to the MTA would require a home rule message from the City Council, and says he would join efforts to stop such a transfer in order to prevent tolls from being enacted. The full blurb is behind the subscriber wall, but here are Fidler’s quotes.

"A real property transfer is subject to our land use review
procedure," says Councilman Lew Fidler, D-Brooklyn. "I surely would
object on that basis and join any lawsuit brought if it were done
without our consent."

The groups fighting bridge tolls would likely challenge any plan that lacked a home rule message from the City Council.

"I realize that two
bucks is not a burdensome amount, but if you think that amount will
remain so low, I have a bridge to sell you," Fidler says.

What role the council might play in the MTA rescue plan, if any, remains to be seen — as does the strength of council opposition to tolls in the face of near-immediate transit fare hikes and service reductions. With the city’s delegation in Albany finally waking up to the fact that more of their constituents ride than drive, you’ve got to wonder how it would play — even in the farther reaches of Brooklyn and Queens — if council members like Fidler and John Liu tried to scuttle a workable rescue of the transit system.

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