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Bridge Tolls

TA Poll: To Fund Transit, New Yorkers Prefer Move NY Toll Reform

The Move NY plan would raise tolls on NYC’s most congested crossings while lowering them on bridges farther from the city center. Image: Move NY

A majority of voters in all five boroughs prefer the Move New York toll reform plan to fund the city's transit system, according to a recent Penn Schoen Berland poll commissioned by Transportation Alternatives.

Pollsters asked 880 New York voters: "To help pay for improvements to transit and New York City’s roads and bridges, what should the Governor do first?" In every borough, a majority of respondents said Andrew Cuomo should "introduce new tolls on bridges that lead into Manhattan currently without tolls, while lowering them on bridges in other boroughs that already have high tolls." That describes the outline of the Move New York toll reform plan.

With 54 percent of New York voters preferring toll reform, it outpolled raising taxes on all residents (16 percent), raising subway and bus fares (6 percent), and "none of the above" (19 percent). Support is highest -- 62 percent -- among Staten Islanders, followed by 55 percent support in Queens. The Queens number is especially noteworthy, since the political resistance to Mayor Bloomberg's unsuccessful congestion pricing efforts in 2007 and 2008 was concentrated in that borough.

Also worth noting is that 68 percent of respondents own cars, compared to only 46 percent of New Yorkers overall.

Move New York campaign director Alex Matthiessen is hoping the results stir Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature to action. Last year, the Assembly bill to enact Move NY (A09633) was supported by 32 of the 100 or so members who represent counties served by the MTA. The governor has refused to take the lead on toll reform, saying he may pursue it if there's a viable political path forward.

"With yet another poll demonstrating that a majority of New Yorkers support the concept of using a fairer tolling system to raise desperately needed funding to maintain and improve our transportation infrastructure, it’s time for Albany to act on the Move NY legislation that was introduced in the NY State Legislature last year," Matthiessen said in a statement. "Bring it to a vote and let the people decide."

The Senate and Assembly sponsors of Move NY legislation will put forward a reconciled version of their respective bills in the coming weeks, the statement said.

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