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Voters want fee to fix transit: Poll

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The poll, conducted by the Qunnipiac University Polling Institute, queried 1,162 registered Democrats and Republicans around the city about issues surrounding Mayor Michael Bloomberg's controversial congestion pricing plan, just weeks before a commission of city and state officials votes on the proposal. "Traffic is a horrendous problem, New Yorkers agree. But they reject all the ideas that are being talked about to ease it. Voters remain firm in their opposition to congestion pricing, but they would support it if Ð if Ð the money is used to improve mass transit, " said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. The poll results show that 89 percent of Queens residents believe that congestion in the city is either a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" issue. Opposition to Bloomberg's plan, which would charge $8 for cars driving into the city below 86th Street, has been strong in Queens since it was announced as part of his PlaNYC sustainability plan in April. Last Thursday's poll showed no difference in the trend, with 58 percent of Queens residents remaining opposed to the proposal and 56 percent of people from the borough saying that such a plan would amount to an unfair tax on the outer boroughs.Those polled did say, however, that they would be willing to support congestion pricing if they had a guarantee that it would lead to broad improvements in mass transit. According to the poll, 61 percent of Queens voters polled said they would support congestion pricing if they had this guarantee. Although Queens voters believe that congestion pricing is a bad idea, the poll also showed that a majority believes that two alternatives to the plan that have been proposed in recent months are not any better. Placing tolls on the East River bridges and raising parking meter rates in Manhattan have also publicly been discussed as alternatives to congestion pricing recently and the poll found that Queens voters oppose both plans by large margins. The poll said that 68 percent of Queens residents said they would oppose tolls on the East River bridges compared to 25 percent who would support the idea, while 59 percent of said they would oppose raising parking meter rates in Manhattan, compared to 37 percent who would support it. Queens voters also said they would choose congestion pricing over tolls on the East River bridges, by 42 to 33 percent. Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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