New East River Bridges Toll Proposal Goes After Everyone, Including Bicyclists

50 Cents For Bikes, More Surcharges On Cabs Part Of 'Gridlock Sam' Plan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The city’s former traffic commissioner has a new plan to put tolls on East River bridges. But this proposal has some novel “selling points,” including a first-ever toll for cyclists.

Plan to toll the bridges have come and gone over the past few years, but the latest one by Sam Schwartz is starting to pick up steam, maybe because it goes after everyone.

“I’m trying to be equal opportunity pain throughout the region,” Schwartz said.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Story

Schwartz, known as “Gridlock Sam” to many, wasn’t kidding Friday when he told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer that his new plan to raise $1.2 billion a year tolling the East River bridges will hit a lot of people. He wants to make everyone pay, even some who think they should be exempt.

“I’m asking the bike riders to pay 50 cents each way to use the bridges coming into our Central Business District,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz also wants to put a new surcharge on yellow and livery cabs, a surcharge on so-called “black cars” and a surcharge on parking in Midtown. New tolls would be put on the Ed Koch Queensboro, the Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.

Driver would pay $5 with E-ZPass; $7 without.

But in exchange for keeping cars out of the Central Business District below 60th Street, Schwartz wants to reduce – that’s right, reduce — tolls on uptown spans, the Triboro, Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges.

The round-trip tab would drop from $13 to $8.

With Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Asia, Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said that while the mayor isn’t supporting a congestion pricing plan at this time, it is necessary to find some way to fund mass transit.

“It is definitely vital that we figure out how we’re going to fund transit for the long term. It’s the only way New York City is going to stay competitive,” Holloway said.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb: Deputy Mayor Says The Plan Will Get Due Consideration

Drivers are definitely not on board.

“It may help with traffic, but I mean I think we pay for enough as far as tolls coming into the city and gas prices the way it is. I don’t think we need more tolls,” Brooklyn resident Lance Smith said.

“I think it would just slow traffic more. I’m not really for it,” added Rhonda Rosenfeld of New Hyde Park.

“That would be a disaster,” another person said.

Just for the record, before 1911 there were tolls on the Ed Koch bridge — 10 cents for cars, 5 cents for push carts and 3 cents for horses.

Please share your thoughts below…

  • fergy

    I blame liberal graft, entitlement mentality, and “spending their way out of debt” for the state of affairs today………

  • TruthInSpending

    Find a way to fund mass transit? Let those who use it pay for it. Now there’s a novel approach.

  • Noreaster

    It now makes sense why Bloomberg built the bike lanes in the first place…..
    to make revenue!

  • Tammy

    Nothing more filthy tthan a zionist.

  • johnrokkit

    Coming on the heels of the mayor’s decision to limit calories in food to homeless shelters this is revealing. Run by wealthy clowns for their own amusement.

  • Vince

    How about everyone wear a gas mask with a meter attached to it so that they can tax the air we breathe. I mean, they might as well go all the way.

  • Kevin

    Federal and state governments have all become parasites in a constant search for new host bodies. Now they want a person on a pedal bike to pay a toll to cross a bridge. Whats next ? A walking tax. Open the books, show us where the money went.

  • Mencken Baken

    “Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.” ~ H. L. Mencken


  • Iron Head

    The new electronic shoe toll device can be called U-P A S S

  • Iron Head

    The shoe’s electron toll device can be called UP-ASS.

    • Vince

      LOL. Good one.

  • Iron Head

    The electronic shoe toll device will be call U-PASS!

  • Iron Head

    Shoe tax! 25 cents per shoe and for added effect, I can kick a stupid politicians butt if my shoe has E-Pass.

  • Andrew Moore

    Nobody goes to NYC anymore. It’s too crowded.

  • Mike G

    Here is a novel idea. How about cutting spending?

    • Vince

      What???? Officer, officer! Arrest that man!

  • AsylumEscapee

    Why don’t you tax Bloomberg Terminals – extensive use in finance in NYC and maybe even figure out a way of reaching out worldwide to anyone/anywhere using one? Figure a small fee – like $10K/user/month (but start at $1/month just to avoid an uproar).
    Might also consider an elevator tax ($0.50/flight each way).

  • The Governor of Mesa

    Cut those city manager’s salary and pension. It’ll more than make up for the loss revenue of a bike tax!

  • Rod Anders

    Why complain? You’re the people that elect these idiots? What a complete farce. Do you really think that Jimmy Carson or Ed McMahon would pay these ridiculous fines?

  • Travln Texan

    get ready it’s coming…a tax on BREATHING.

  • John Wayne

    Want o know how to solve the problem with New York city?


  • tonytee

    hey i have a grand idea.. stop speinding money you do not have .. taxation is getting way out of hand stupid politicians.. stop spending you pigs.

  • DavidArizona

    They have spent too much of your money, now they need more of it. New Yorkers/ you keep voting these people in. Open your wallets!!!!!!

  • barry1817

    If bicycles want to take to the road, and they are required to follow motor vehicle codes, then they should be ready to pay their fair share for the upkeep of those roads.

    Sorry, you don’t get to castigate drivers, and then get a free pass on the costs associated with those roads.

    • Vince

      Hey barry, how much “upkeep” is required to maintain a road ridden on by BICYCLES?? And any person who’s got the guts to ride a bike among the insane taxi drivers in the city and not pollute the air DESERVES to ride in free. Do yourself a favor, listen to the song by the Beetles called “Taxman”. Even THEY figured it out.

    • tonytee

      you are just plain goofy..

  • Native Mike

    How about a toll every four block radius or so for illegal immigrants.

    • Native Mike

      and a booth for citizens to buy guns legally and uphold their second amendment rights! ;)

      • Vince

        Can’t have that Mike because then the lives of POLITICIANS would be in danger ;)

  • jaline

    This kind of lunacy is why we left the cities of S. California and moved to the country. We own just under 7 acres, with approximately 300 trees (some of them 80 ft. tall and most of which we planted ourselves). Our home is small (1292 sq. ft), but there’s no mortgage. Our closest neighbor is 600 ft. from our front door; the nearest town (pop. about 13,000) is 10 miles away. We don’t have a lot of amenities (like sidewalks) and our road is paved with gravel. The cost of gas is high (it’s 20 miles and back to the grocery store)…but our sanity is well worth it.

  • Joseph Bee

    THis is, yet another, unelected pinhead that is a shill for the Bloomberg despot. Notice that there’s no mention of his princess beard, Salik-Khan? That’s because she generates enough hatred in all she’s done in wreaking havoc on our streets! As for pinhead Sam, he should shut up. Go tax his family, and go away.
    And while bicyclists are on line waiting to pay a toll, they can breathe in volumes of toxic air from the gridlocked cars. Real smart.

  • Joseph Bee

    THis is, yet another, unelected pinhead that is a shill for the Bloomberg despot. Notice that there’s no mention of his princess beard, Salik-Khan? That’s because she generates enough hatred in all she’s done in wreaking havoc on our streets! As for pinhead Sam, he should shut up. Go tax his family, and go away.

  • Crystalball

    Yes, let’s hit/tax the poor b*****ds who have to bike to work, while Wall Street, Goldman Sachs and the mismanaged rest slurp up more and more in the form of bonuses, bailouts, lobbied legislation and further tax exemptions; because they can. What arrests? Gone after and retrieved any of those derivatives yet?
    Attorney General? Anybody?

  • Cap Curmudgeon

    City keeps buying stuff for people who aren’t working and keeping hoards of loafers on the city payroll. What do you think is going to happen?

  • Ed

    Hey here’s a novel idea for about 99.99% of New Yorkers (and I was one for over 10 years).

    How’s about cutting some effing spending? Ever think of that? Or you just going to have crazy tolls and fines forever?

  • Sara Cofresi

    So how is theis spend your way out of debt working for ya?

  • Wow

    A bicycle tax…priceless.

  • Max17

    NY is a wonderful place to visit. I recommend everyone go there once in a lifetime. I went in the early 80’s. In a couple of days you can see a Broadway play, eat at the most famous restaurants, go to the top of the King Kong building, and spend more money than you can possibly imagine. And the best part is, you get to leave. I don’t ever want to go back, but it IS a check mark on my bucket list.

    • SerfCityHereWeCome

      Hopefully people will boycott the King Kong building from now on. The owners saw fit to deck it out in red to “celebrate” the 60th anniversary of the murderous (well into 9 figures) totalitarian regime of Red China but threw a hissy fit and refused to do the same when Dolan became a Cardinal.

  • Ronbo


  • you are missing a golden opportunity here...

    …think about this one…it’s gold…we start charging people to breathe in the air in new york city but here’s the catch. we only charge 1 dollar. we charge 10 dollars to breathe out though.

  • Robert

    My brother once told me that the government was like a pig. We feed it and feed it and the pig gets bigger and bigger and wants more and more.
    He also told me Rob when the pig gets too big, you got to kill it and eat it before it eats you………You know what? He’s was right.

    • tonytee

      i like your brother..

  • Rocco

    Good luck for all the residents and businesses that rely on the boror residents for business. it will be ghost town on the weekends.

    • Jimmy

      Here’s one better idea…

      Cut the pensions and the size of the city workers and put everyone on 401Ks

      • Cap Curmudgeon

        That screaming you hear is the city union leaders. Their lives are tied to pulling more and more out of the city treasury for their members. They hate you.

  • Larry Schwarz

    Why not charge for pedestrians to?.Is this guy Sam out of his mind?.

  • Tango

    This is why New York is ranked dead last in many economic reports, “Rich state Poor state”, is one example . Taxes, tolls, surcharges, the list goes on and on. Why is it that business’s move out of places. A lot has to do with the cost of doing business in an area. At one time, not too long ago every Fortune 500 was represented in NYC or New York State, they all had offices here. So what happened, the politicians thought it would be a great idea to milk the cow dry. Just like the other broke states, California, Michigan and Massachusetts they are all trying to milk the last dime out of the remaining taxpayers

  • jamesnyc

    Sure have the cyclists pay to use the bridge and then let them clog up traffic. I will be glad when Bloomberg and his idiots are out of office. The whole idea is to get people to use their bikes or public transportation. Oh and by the way if you need more money get the 600 million back for the CityTime debacle.

  • harkin

    Five will get you ten that all public union members will be exempt.

    • harkin

      Dem politicians too!

  • Scott

    So they can put a thousand cops on the beat watching a few protesters but are “cash-strapped” in NY. Another Bloomberg fairy tale.

  • terry R

    Who would want to live anywhere in NY. MOVE!

  • Thorshammer

    You want to call NYC the greatest city in the world, this is the price you pay to toot your horn. No tolls in fly over Country

  • MiketheMayor

    I hope it gets approved and everbody has to pay through their collectivist noses…they voted for these dingle berries or the low hanging fruit that appointed them…they’re lucky I’m not running things.

  • Norbert G. Ginsel

    The year is yet young. He has not yet thought of taxing people who LOOK at the bridges.

  • Raul

    All these politicians do is grandstand by wasting the taxpayers money. For example the 2nd Avenue subway and the other subway expansions are projected to cost something like 18 Billion dollars,, who knows what the actual cost will finally be. All the had to have done was to increase the frequency of the trains at rush hours. They would have saved a bundle!

  • Big Frank

    It’s no mystery that folks are fleeing the NYC metro area, voting with their feet. The only ones left in the Big Apple will be the very rich and the subsidized class , no one else will be able to survive there economically.

    • Cap Curmudgeon

      I left decades ago for many good reasons. I go back only long enough to visit (or pass through on my way to LI).

      You need a good excuse for staying. “I don’t want to move” doesn’t cut it.

  • Tallminglecom

    My friend just told me a nice place — T’ a” ll f’ i n ‘d ‘e’ r. c ‘o ‘M ‘– it’s the most effective site in the world to connect with, date and marry tall, and big people.. It’s worthy a try.

  • John Gray

    When even city dwellers without a car (that would be me) start to see how this insane march towards soaring tolls will eventually hit us, can we call this game as over?

    Uh, you subway riders, you ever buy clothes? iphones? You like to eat? Cause all of these things get here by bridges and tunnels.

  • John Gray

    High sales tax, high state income tax, CITY income tax, already expensive tunnels, high property tax, generous tax from high profit businesses without having to provide schooling and other services for many of the commuting employees, rolling in international tourist dollars and obscene hotel taxes, over-the-top fines ($1000+ parking tickets for commercial vehicles, several hundred for trivial trash violations) which no one even bothers to dispute are just revenue generators………

    Oh, but this one new toll. Finally, FINALLY, this will balance NYC’s books once and for all! What took so long?

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