Queens lawmaker thinks congestion pricing must have exemptions for city residents

After Governor Andrew Cuomo vowed in his State of the State address Tuesday to implement a congestion pricing plan in 2019, Councilman Robert Holden of Middle Village once again called for an exemption for city residents and the release of the full details of the proposal.

The proposed plan would allow the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority to levy a toll on certain roads, bridges and tunnels in or entering Manhattan south of 60th Street, with the goal of reducing congestion in that region and reinvesting the toll money in the MTA.

“We are already overburdened by takes and tolls in this city, so why would our residents have to fund this project too?” Holden said. “It will further increase the cost of living and give New Yorkers yet another reason to relocate. Those who commute from upstate, New Jersey and Connecticut can pay the toll, but I cannot support this plan without an exemption for city residents.”

Other city initiatives have also counteracted the congestion pricing plan. Many residents have voiced complaints that the expansion of bike lanes has increased congestion, for example. More tolls for truck drivers could also make their way back to the consumer as businesses raise their prices to compensate for the added fees.

Ultimately, Holden believes that congestion pricing would not have a significant effect on congestion and would cause more frustration for residents.

While Cuomo did not lay out any specific details of the 2019 proposal, his 2018 pitch for congestion pricing was ultimately shot down. That version would have charged more than $11 for cars and $25 for trucks to enter Manhattan. The governor predicts that his plan could raise $15 billion for the MTA over the next 10 years.

“The idea of giving more of the people’s money to the MTA should not be considered until the agency can prove that it will do something useful with it for once,” Holden said.

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