Affordable Transit

“Tolls are too damn high!” says Gridlock Sam

Verrazano

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: March 20, 2015

Contact: Gabrielle Lewis                                                                     Bart Robett, Move NY

(212) 598-9010 ext. 109   glewis@samschwartz.com                       (203) 571-8502 (951) 473-3232  bart@robbett.com

‘The tolls are too damn high!’ says Gridlock Sam

Sunday: Tolls and fares spike upwards, Move NY has solution for lower price at 7 crossings

Watch out at cash lanes as angry drivers shell out more money – and at free bridges as drivers protest by bypassing tolls. More toll hikes to come in 2017!

It’s happening again – drivers and straphangers alike will soon pay more for their commutes. At 2 a.m. Sunday, March 22nd, MTA toll and fare increases will go into effect, with drivers paying as much as $16 at the city’s major crossings.

This increase will be the sixth since December 2010, with the cash toll increasing a whopping 45% from $11 in less than five years. (See chart and description, below.) If this pattern continues, an analysis conducted by Sam Schwartz Engineering shows that by 2020 it will cost about $25 just to get from Brooklyn to Staten Island or Queens to the Bronx and back; by 2030, it’ll be up to $51. Outrageous!

And — it gets even crazier — at the same time we continue to allow more than a half-million drivers to cross the East River bridges with no charge during the height of rush hour.

“We’ve seen 7 toll hikes and 5 subway fare hikes in the past 12 years,” says ‘Gridlock’ Sam Schwartz, “But one traveler hasn’t seen an increase since 1911 – the drivers who cross the East River bridges. It’s time we all pay our fair share.”

The new toll hikes will only encourage more drivers to ‘bridge shop,’ or detour to a free bridge, adding to slowdowns and putting extra stress on infrastructure in desperate need of repair.

In fact, under the new toll rates, big five-axle tractor trailers heading to New Jersey from Brooklyn will be charged $86 to stay on expressways in Brooklyn and Staten Island and to cross the Verrazano Bridge but nada, not a cent, to travel the streets of Downtown Brooklyn, bounce across the creaky Manhattan Bridge, rumble through Chinatown via Canal Street, tour the West Village and Chelsea via Eighth Avenue and head out the Lincoln Tunnel.

As an alternative, the Move NY Fair Plan proposes to set tolls according to a logical formula: higher tolls where transit options are most available and lower tolls where transit is either not available or a less viable option. Rationalizing the tolls this way will price all vehicle trips entering or exiting Manhattan south of 60th St. but lower the cost of most crossings with non-central business district origins or destinations, which means an overall decrease in congestion.

As drivers protest these higher rates by bridge shopping there will be increased congestion on several bridges, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, and especially the Queensboro Bridge, which is sandwiched between two toll crossings.

Move NY also emphasizes transparency and accountability for tolls to generate the revenue needed to make major investments in maintaining and modernizing our mass transit system and road network. This will bring toll equity to the region’s commuters and businesses, and reduce the grinding traffic jams that plague the metro region, its people, and the economy. You can read the entire plan at http://iheartmoveny.org/  and support it by visiting http://iheartmoveny.org/#sign-petition

Business leaders, environmental groups, unions, even the leading organizations representing the state’s motorists and truckers – the New York State Motor Truck Association and AAA-NY – all give the plan positive reviews.

Drivers aren’t alone in facing major MTA increases. Bus and subway riders will pay an extra quarter per ride as the base one-way fare increases to $2.75 (from $2.50), and a single ride ticket increases to $3.00 (from $2.75). The cost of 30-day unlimited-ride MetroCards will rise to $116.50 (from $112) and 7-day unlimited-ride to $31 (from $30). Don’t expect less ridership – just more gloomy faces.

The outlook is no brighter in the short term: the MTA’s 2014 budget stipulated toll and fare increases again in 2017, to raise an additional 4% in revenues. This means we’re two years away from the next hike!

Toll increase information

New rates for the big-rigs and standard trucks go into effect 2 a.m. March 22nd. At the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel, Throgs Neck Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, and Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, two-axle trucks will pay $16 with cash and $10 with E-ZPass; at the Verrazano Bridge, $32 with cash and $20 with E-ZPass; and at the Cross Bay and Marine Parkway bridges, $8 with cash and $5 with E-ZPass.

At the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel, Throgs Neck Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, and the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, tolls will rise to $8.00 each way (from $7.50) for drivers paying cash and to $5.54 (from $5.33) for E-ZPass users. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll will increase to $16.00 one-way (from $15.00) for drivers paying cash and to $11.08 (from $10.66) for E-ZPass users. At the Henry Hudson Bridge, drivers tolled by mail will pay $5.50 (from $5.00) and E-ZPass users will now pay $2.54 (from $2.44). At the Cross Bay and Marine Parkway bridges, drivers using cash will pay $4.00 (from $3.75) and E-ZPass users will pay $2.08 (from $2.00). (See chart, below.)

Bridge and Tunnel Toll Increases beginning March 22, 2015

Cash                                                E-ZPass

Bridge/Tunnel Old Cash Price New Cash Price Old E-ZPass Price New E-ZPass Price
Verrazano (one-way to S.I.) $15.00 $16.00 $10.66 $11.08
Bronx-Whitestone (each way) $7.50 $8.00 $5.33 $5.54
Cross Bay (each way) $3.75 $4.00 $2.00 $2.08
Henry Hudson (each way) $5.00 $5.50 $2.44 $2.54
Hugh L. Carey-Battery (each way) $7.50 $8.00 $5.33 $5.54
Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges (each way) $3.75 $4.00 $2.00 $2.08
Queens Midtown (each way) $7.50 $8.00 $5.33 $5.54
RFK-Triborough (each way) $7.50 $8.00 $5.33 $5.54
Throgs Neck (each way) $7.50 $8.00 $5.33 $5.54

 

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