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 act now. In light of these troubling
circumstances, I am supporting Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s
proposal to combine a payroll tax with a toll on the East and Harlem
River bridges set at two dollars, the same amount as a subway fare.
Final legislation must permanently keep these tolls at the level of
subway fares and the revenue generated should be used to maintain and
improve outer-borough transportation services. In the past I have
supported several different solutions to this problem, from reinstating
the commuter tax to increasing driver registration fees. Now, above
all, I believe Albany needs to fix this problem before straphangers
across our city are left carrying the burden by themselves."

De Blasio’s support of bridge tolls is notable for a few reasons. As far as we know, he’s the sole City Council member to come out in favor of new tolls, when he could just as easily have remained silent. And considering his opposition to congestion pricing, de Blasio’s stance on East River tolls is all the more surprising.

The timing is also significant. Now that Albany’s suburban contingent has put its foot down on the proposed payroll tax, could de Blasio help revive Silver’s toll plan, rousing key senators like Velmanette Montgomery to do the right thing?

Meanwhile, candidates for de Blasio’s council seat have also weighed in. Brad Lander, Josh Skaller and Gary Reilly have all called on Albany to take action, with Lander and Reilly specifically endorsing East River bridge tolls.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Public Advocate de Blasio Open to Bridge Tolls to Fund Transit

|
Yesterday, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio organized volunteers to campaign for student MetroCards at 20 subway stations across the city. We were encouraged by his decision to focus attention on legislators in Albany, and we had one big question: What funding solutions does the public advocate envision for the recession-battered MTA and the millions of […]

Transportation Mainly a Pocketbook Issue at First Mayoral Debate

|
Transportation didn’t get much airtime during last night’s debate between Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota, but the candidates did trade a few jabs. Over the course of the debate, which aired on WABC, the pair fielded a handful of questions on MTA fares, traffic enforcement, waste management, and development — with Lhota at one […]

Anthony Shorris: City Hall Open to Funding Transit Via Toll Reform

|
After an Albany legislative session that came and went without any serious effort from Governor Cuomo to address the $14 billion shortfall in the MTA’s next five-year capital program, there are faint stirrings of action. Most intriguing: Yesterday, First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris sent a letter to MTA Chairman and CEO Tom Prendergast outlining the city’s […]