NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ardent protests erupted Friday against the latest attempt to put tolls on the free East River bridges as part of a congestion pricing plan.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, outer borough business and community leaders said they have been taxed enough.
The protest was billed as a wake-up call for New York City drivers who might be asleep at the wheel.
“We’ve been down this road before, and we’ve been sold the same snake oil. First, it was the $15 auto use tax,” said Bob Friedrich of Glen Oaks Village Owners Inc. in Queens.
The protesters were targeting the latest incarnation of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s failed congestion pricing plan, which seeks to raise money for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority by putting tolls on four free East River bridges – the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges between Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge between Manhattan and Queens.
Some believe the plan is a good idea because in exchange, it seeks to lower tolls on other spans such as the Henry Hudson between Manhattan and the Bronx, the Whitestone and Throgs Neck between the Bronx and Queens.
But elected officials and others at the protest listed all the tolls and taxes that have been enacted to help the MTA, which are still in effect today.
After the $15 auto use tax in New York City, officials enacted a $30 car registration surcharge in the entire MTA region, followed by a sales tax surcharge, a mobility tax on small businesses, and a 50-cent surcharge on taxi rides.