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Former State Lawmaker Questions East River Crossing Toll Plan

Fairness Issues Need To Be Addressed, Richard Brodsky Says
Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge Traffic (credit: CBS 2)

Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge Traffic (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As December brings higher tolls to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey crossings, another effort is in progress to toll crossings across the East River that are currently free.

But as WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reported Sunday, one veteran of the long-running fight has doubts.

Former state Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, who opposed congestion pricing plans, said tolling the East River crossings carries the baggage of previous schemes.

“There’s a fairness issue; an equity issue,” Brodsky said.

Now a senior fellow of the New York University Robert Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, Brodsky is skeptical of the new plan’s chances.

“How we allow people to use our streets has to be looked at through fairness issues — not just to how you raise the most revenue,” he said.

The latest plan, much like Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s failed 2008 effort at congestion pricing would add tolls to the now-free East River crossings.

Supporters of the Move NY campaign said the proposal is all about fairness. The plan would implement a $5 toll or $7.50 cash on the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Ed Koch-Queensboro bridges.

The rate would be lower on other crossings and the toll would drop by $5 on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge under the proposal.

Brodsky said he understands the latest plan is different from previous ones, and said it deserves an examination and debate.

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