Tolls coming to an East River bridge near you

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A wakeup call to all New York City drivers asleep at the wheel: Hold on to your wallets, the Robber “toll” Barons are coming for you.

After more than 100 years of free interborough travel on the East River crossings, another iteration of congestion pricing is on its way. And with the subway system in near collapse and in dire need of repair, the proposal is gaining traction.

Mercifully, in the past, the state Legislature has saved us from the City Council’s attempt to place tolls on these bridges to satisfy an insatiable appetite for more of our money. Make no mistake about it, the MTA is setting us up for a monetary shakedown and the politicians are lined up to pick our pockets. This is very bad news for motorists whose pockets have already been emptied by the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, the MTA and the Port Authority of NY/NJ.

New Yorkers share the unenviable distinction of suffering the highest tax and toll rates in the country.

The most recent congestion pricing tax scheme sought to impose a $16 roundtrip toll on the currently free East River crossings — a cost burden that few families could afford.

As president of Glen Oaks Village, New York’s largest garden apartment co-op, I know many families and seniors who travel into Manhattan regularly for medical tests and doctor’s appointments who cannot afford this budget-busting expense. What makes matters worse, the tolling shakedown doesn’t stop at the bridges and tunnels. An “Invisible Toll Booth” using license-plate reading scanners is proposed along the perimeters of Manhattan’s central business district, from river to river. Cross its invisible line and your hit with a hefty $8 toll – until, of course, it’s raised again.

A typical trip into Manhattan could cost you a whopping $32. Cross the Brooklyn Bridge to get to Manhattan for an afternoon doctor’s appointment and you’re hit with your first $8 toll. Head north across 60th Street for lunch with a friend, and you’ll be hit with your second $8 toll. Reverse course and cross 60th Street as you head downtown to the doctor’s appointment and you’re hit with your third $8 toll. And when you leave Manhattan, crossing the 59th Street Bridge, you’re slammed with a final $8.

Easy to see how this adds up quickly for those without transit options. Certainly, there are many parts of the city that are virtual mass transit deserts, lacking subways or night-time or weekend bus service. For residents of those areas, free East River Crossings remain the only affordable option.

The Manhattan-centric proponents of the tolling plan have the audacity to call car ownership a “luxury,” when in reality, it’s a necessity for so many outer-borough residents.

The proponents of the toll plan argue that the MTA just needs a sustainable revenue stream to fund its projects and repairs. The problem is we’ve been peddled this false narrative before. It’s never enough.

Here’s the timeline:

· First it was the $15 NYC Auto Use Tax imposed on all NYC registered vehicles to provide a sustainable revenue stream for the MTA. When that wasn’t enough, we were told that…

· A $30 Metropolitan Commuter Supplemental Registration Fee levied on all registered vehicles in the MTA commuter region would provide a sustainable revenue stream. When that wasn’t enough, we were told that…

· The MTA Sales Tax Surcharge, an add-on to the city’s already high sales tax, would provide a sustainable revenue stream. When that wasn’t enough, we were told that…

· The Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax imposed on self-employed individuals would provide a sustainable revenue stream to the MTA. When that wasn’t enough, we were told that…

· A 50 cent Taxi Surcharge on every cab ride would provide a sustainable revenue stream for the MTA…

Now we’re being told that if we place tolls on the Free East River crossings, we will finally create that elusive sustainable revenue stream for the MTA, where these other costly confiscatory fees, which we’re all still paying, failed to do. The track record of failure here is clear and speaks for itself. Enough is enough. The well is dry and the taxpayers of this region are tapped out and have no more to give.

Bob Friedrich is President of Glen Oaks Village, a Civic Leader and former City Council Candidate.

Posted 12:00 am, September 8, 2017
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Reader feedback

Fred from Glen Oaks says:
Whats the point of this article when you couldn't do nothing about it? You went to all protests, press meetings and kissing ass. You are useless, Bob.
Sept. 8, 2017, 10:56 am
Justin C from Glen Oaks says:
Nobody goes to Manhattan from Queens for doctors. Glen Oaks is next to Long Island with 5 hospitals and private practices all over. What is wrong with Bob?
Sept. 8, 2017, 11:30 am
What from Queens says:
Bob robs Glen Oaks Village. There never has been an election since he took over as the president. He won't let anyone else challenge him. They were all threatened with lawsuits.
Sept. 8, 2017, 12:44 pm
Paulette from Astoria says:
All of my Doctors are in Queens, what are you talking about. I rarely drive or take mass transit to Manhattan.
Sept. 8, 2017, 12:53 pm
Ole from Queens says:
Nobody goes to Manhattan unless its for tourism or work. For tourism, its money. For work, there are discount programs. Bob is an idiot.
Sept. 8, 2017, 2:52 pm
LOL from Glen Oaks says:
Bob had no education background. Read this article,
Mental hospital should develop a “code of conduct” for patients that addresses hygiene and dressing.
Everyone is leaving Glen Oaks Village. Dirty place.
Sept. 8, 2017, 3:08 pm
Matt from Glen Oaks says:
There is not a single election in Glen Oaks Village for the board. Bob make sure he is never replaced. I tried to run but he denied my request saying no election until he says so.
Sept. 8, 2017, 5:07 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. says:
Any proposed fare, tax and/or toll increase is just wishful thinking, but it is inevitable nonetheless in the not too distant future: Expect a hostile citywide election and a much more hostile state elections next year.
Sept. 8, 2017, 7:55 pm
Juan Pablo from NYC says:
So what if the toll takes place. I am sure elected officials will offer them free to welfare and homeless people. By the way, Bob, do get some education at least. You sound like a caveman!
Sept. 9, 2017, 1:52 am
Fact from Glen Oaks says:
Everyone knows Bob is a dictator in Glen Oaks. No other neighborhood has bullies like Bob.
Sept. 9, 2017, 11:28 am
What from Queens says:
What does Bob know the rest of Queens doesn't? The city is all about money. They don't care just like Bob doesn't care about Glen Oaks Village. Bob is like a politician cashing out using his title as president of Glen Oaks.
Sept. 9, 2017, 1:26 pm
Commuter from Queens says:
I drive to Manhattan for work. If they add tolls at all bridges to ease traffic, I support it. I doubt Bob works in Manhattan.
Sept. 9, 2017, 2:29 pm
LOL from Queens says:
This is a stupid article written by an idiot who has no idea what politics is all about.
Sept. 9, 2017, 6:31 pm
Helton from Flushing says:
Bob described he is the president of Glen Oaks Village, civic leader and city council candiate. Did he ever really had a square paying job? Doubt so since he lives with his parents even thought he is 65 years old.
Sept. 9, 2017, 9:42 pm
Man from NYC says:
The most stupidest post I ever read!
Sept. 10, 2017, 1:15 am
Sandra from Glen Oaks says:
So let me get this straight.
Bob being a civic leader couldn't do nothing about this why he is embarrassing himself with this post?
Sept. 10, 2017, 11:23 am
Hey from NYC says:
Robber Baron! huh!
Bob is a robbery baron of Glen Oaks Village.
He lives off the maintenance money from shareholders.
Sept. 10, 2017, 1:27 pm
Dave from Bellerose says:
Queens is expensive to live. Get over it if there is going to be a toll.
Sept. 10, 2017, 8:10 pm
Man from Queens says:
NYC is expensive and everything is going up. Get used to it.
Sept. 30, 2017, 2:52 pm

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