Video: Politics and Policy of Bid to Change Tolls, Bolster Transit

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The Brooklyn Bridge is one crossing that would gain a toll under the MoveNY plan.

Andrew Choy

The Brooklyn Bridge is one crossing that would gain a toll under the MoveNY plan.

 

New York City’s distorted toll system, which charges drivers for using some bridges and tunnels but offers free passage on others, has often invited—and thwarted—attempts to change it. The most recent bid was Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing scheme, which died in 2008 thanks to a poor sales job by proponents.

Now comes another plan, called Move NY, which is different in several important ways from congestion pricing – not the least of which is that its supporters seem to have a handle on how to make their pitch.

Two of those supporters, Masha Burina of the Riders Alliance and Alex Matthiessen of Move NY, joined me on Wednesday’s BkLive along with Alec Slatky, a legislative analyst at AAA Northeast. He was there not as a supporter of the plan, but also not as an opponent. Move NY, Slatky said, “definitely deserves consideration.”

Slatky’s position reflects the changed tactics proponents are using this time. MoveNY backers sought out AAA as they were drafting the scheme, so as to avoid some of the landmines the congestion pricing push trod over. The outreach probably helped defuse opposition. Several aspects of the proposed policy are also aimed at winning drivers’ support: The MoveNY plan dedicates money to roads and bridges as well as mass transit, and involves lowering some tolls and raising others.

The proposal is gaining support in the Assembly. But it will be a tough fight to get the approval of the state Senate. The governor, meanwhile, has questioned the plan’s political viability, meaning he won’t go to bat for it unless it really gathers a head of steam.

For more on what the plan would do, watch the clip below and then go here.

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