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Proponents Of Plan That Would Toll Queensboro Bridge Will Rally In Astoria This Weekend

File Photo

File Photo

June 2, 2016 By Michael Florio

Proponents of a controversial plan that would add a toll to the Queensboro Bridge will rally in Astoria this weekend.

The rally will take place on Saturday at 11 a.m., starting at the Astoria Blvd N/Q subway station, at 31st Street between Astoria Blvd and Hoyt Avenue South. The Riders Alliance and Transportation Alternatives organized the rally in hopes of garnering support for the “Move NY Fair Plan,” which would change how bridges and crossings in New York City are tolled.

The plan was put forward in Feburary 2015 by the transportation coalition Move NY; it was introduced as a bill in the State Assembly about three months ago.

The Move NY plan would introduce tolls on the Queensboro and other East River bridges of $5.54 each way with E-ZPass, or $8 without, while reducing fares on other major bridges, including the Triborough/RFK, by up to 48 percent.

Move NY believes that this “toll swap” would be more fair for drivers on the Triborough/RFK and other tolled bridges, who have fewer transportation alternatives. Meanwhile, the coalition charges that it would de-incentivize the Queensboro Bridge, therefore reducing congestion and pollution around Queens Plaza.

Move NY also says its plan would generate $1.35 billion annually. Per the Assembly bill text, the new revenue would go towards MTA expansion projects potentially including ferry service, subway and bus station improvements and road and bridge maintenance, among others.

Saturday’s rally participants will hand out $2.50 “dollar bills” to inform Queens drivers about the strategy for reduced tolls on the nearby Triborough/RFK Bridge.

A handful of local officials have already voiced their support for the plan.

“I said it many times in the past, but I will encourage New Yorkers to take a close look at the proposal and the benefits it would bring to our transportation system,” State Sen. Jose Peralta said. “I believe this plan will get traffic moving, will fix inequalities in how bridges are tolled and it will provide a sustainable source of much needed revenue for the MTA.”

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer has also come out in favor of the plan.

“We’ve seen massive congestion problems both on the subway cars and platforms of the 7 train themselves, and then in addition to that, in the run up to the Queensboro Bridge,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “That’s why I am saying now we need to focus on this investment into our mass transit. The Move NY plan is the best and most responsible way to get us there.”

“This is a responsible way to ensure that the MTA’s needs are fully funded on an ongoing basis without putting a financial burden on the backs of riders,” he added.

However, not everyone is convinced.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris was one of several elected officials invited to Saturday’s rally, but he remains skeptical of the plan and will not attend the rally, according to his office.

Assembly Member Aravella Simotas is also wary.

“Traffic and transportation are complicated problems and I’m not sure that this proposal gets us where we want to go,” Simotas said in a statement.

She will be “unable to attend” the rally, according to her office.

Assembly Members Cathy Nolan and Margaret Markey have both been invited to Saturday’s rally. Neither responded to requests for comment on the Move NY plan.

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Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr.

Realistically, based upon the given political climate in both this borough, NYC, as well as in Albany, it is not going to pass anyway. Scratch my previous comment.


Wrote a letter to VanBramer against this and never heard back from him. In a letter to Catherine Nolan I am asking for trucks which clog up the bridge, to be rerouted to the queens midtown tunnel.Why should we have to pay to travel over the bridge for Drs Hospitals museums etc especially for seniors that cannot climb the stairs to the trains? And if you think parking in our neighborhood from long islanders is out of control now, watch out.

Stop the madness

Put a toll on northern blvd and queens blvd too, then put a bike lane in the middle of q.b bridge to go along with the toll. Hell, while we’re at it,put a toll on the bike lanes


meh, could care less. I’m moving to Toronto (which is the opposite of everything NYC) once my green card is approved. I’d never drive in this city.

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr

In the short-term like a couple of years, this plan will not pass. In the long-term like several years, it will pass. The reason why is because it takes a lot of time to get the clear message across Queens to make this beneficial for everyone.


I will still drive into the city on weekends, the toll money will mysteriously disappear, and the subway will still suck…good work Move NY!


I feel no responsibility at all to ease the toll burden on Long Island and Connecticut residents. They almost universally live on a higher scale than the people of Queens do. Why do I need to pitch in $8.00 everyday to make their lives easier? They do nothing for mine! They swarm over Queens twice a day every day and universally scorn us as “city people.” My own family who left here decades ago does it! They feel NO sympathy for how their desire for a quicker ride to NYC adversely affects the lives of the people who live in Queens. A three minutes shorter ride for them is worth any dimunition of quality of life here. Absolutely class warfare. If you want to charge people from outside the city more to use city streets and bridges, fine, but not your own citizens. That is nothing but cannibalism of the poor in favor of easing the lives of the rich.


Why are they leaving the Harlem River Bridges out of this plan? If we have to pay a toll, why should the Willis Ave Bridge remain free? And how much will the 48% discount on the Triboro cut into the “new” $1.35 Billion they expect this to create tolling the East River Bridges? And who TF are these MoveNY people anyway? They sound like nothing but cheap Long Islanders that want others to pay for their selfishness

Neziah Bliss

I was skeptical but I am coming around to this plan. I am also hopeful that the money will actually be put to proper use by the MTA – in a couple years the financial reforms put in place by Jay Wadler several years ago MIGHT start making a mark and begin to reverse the tide of 60+ years of MTA corruption (drop in the bucket but better than nothing). Along with the East Side Access finally getting done in within the decade, Western Queens might see a real ease in congestion. I’d still love a new subway line built upon pre-existing tracks and tunnels along Sunnyside Yards one day – but that’s the extent of my transit fantasy. I leave my hopeful comments to be ripped apart by the trolls- let the feeding begin!

Ron Burgandy

The MTA should be put down like an old dying dog who was never really nice to anyone or anything.

Sick of all the lies

This will do absolutely nothing to ease the traffic problem on Queens Blvd & Queensboro Plaza, and everyone involved knows it!
This is just another way to squeeze money from hard working people to subsidize the incompetence of the MTA.
Van bramers talking about crowded #7 trains/platforms & that this toll money will help, BS!!!

Yes, the MTA may one day get an idea on how to upgrade our infrastructure, but it won’t be in our lifetime! They’ll just piss this $$ away like they do with all the other billions of dollars they get.

Btw, how are they doing on the new 2cnd Ave subway job ??? It’s a complete joke! The only ones happy with it are the construction companies that are making a fortune off the taxpayers, city, mta etc…
I wouldn’t trust the MTA or the corrupt politicians like our mayor down to van bramer with a single dollar!


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