Lawmakers: Congestion Pricing Will Hurt Queens Commuters

December 17, 2018 - 12:04 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Congestion pricing is expected to be a major topic this upcoming legislative session in Albany, and the issue is proving to be as controversial as ever.

Lawmakers met in Queens on Sunday to denounce a plan for congestion tolling at East River crossings, saying it would do little to help jammed roads and would put an unnecessary burden on outer-borough commuters, who’d be walloped every time they entered Manhattan in addition to the city taxes they already pay.

Supporters of congestion pricing say it will de-clog the city and help fund the MTA. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has shown support for it and urged the state Legislature to act on a plan next year.

But Queens Assemblyman David Weprin says if the goal is to de-clog the roads, there are other changes that would have a more significant impact.

“If you’re talking about reducing congestion, we should talk about more regulation of app-based services, like Uber, like Lyft” Weprin said.

City Councilman Barry Grodenchik also expressed skepticism about the MTA’s spending.

“I don’t trust the MTA,” Grodenchik said Sunday.

He says the MTA is reckless in the way it spends money already, pointing to the fact that the Hudson Yards station serving the 7 line and the completion of the Second Avenue subway were the most expensive subway projects per mile in the world.

“They look beautiful, but they were just tremendously expensive,” Grodenchik said. “I cannot in good conscious vote for a plan without the MTA coming to grips with their overspending.”

The MTA says money from the congestion tolls would improve the overall bus and subway systems and expand services into transit deserts like southeastern Queens.