De Blasio: Tolls on East River bridges to close transit budget gap unlikely
The mayor is repeating his position that Albany likely won't approve a plan to raise tolls as a councilman pushes for the plan.
Despite support from the city's leading lawmaker on transportation issues, Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn't think Albany is willing to enact tolls on East River bridges.
"I've said it's something that is worth looking at," de Blasio told reporters Monday, "but, as you've heard, right now in Albany there's no appetite for it."
Earlier in the day, City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez of Manhattan endorsed a proposal to tax travel on the Koch Queensboro, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges as a means to drive down air pollution and offset ballooning transit expenses.
"There is no longer a question of should we pass this plan but when," said Rodriguez, who chairs the council's transportation committee.
The plan, proposed earlier this year by Move New York, suggests imposing a $5.54 EZ Pass toll in both directions on the four bridges and, according to the group, bring in some $1.5 billion in revenue a year between tolls and a handful of other reforms.
Bridges that already collect money would, including the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge — reduce their tolls.
Both the city and state could use extra cash to fill in a growing budget gap at the MTA, which faces needs to come up with $9.8 billion to pay for its five-year, $32 billion capital plan for maintenance and new projects.
The MTA continues to push New York City to increase its commitment to the budget while City Hall argues it needs stronger commitments that any new money from the city would go towards city projects.
If the City Council stands behind Rodriguez, the move would be largely symbolic as the final decision to toll bridges would lie with the state legislature.
In July, Gov. Andrew Cuomo dismissed the idea as unlikely.
"Been there, done that" the governor said on NY1, referring to a proposal by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg that failed to gain traction with lawmakers. "I don't see how it would ever pass.