Several Brooklyn elected officials, including those who represent Greenpoint and Williamsburg, signed onto a statement asking the MTA to ensure “equalized tolling” when the agency finally implements congestion pricing.
State Senators Kristen Gonzalez and Julia Salazar, Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, and City Council Member Lincoln Restler joined their Brooklyn colleagues in a letter to the MTA’s Traffic Mobility Review Board earlier this month.
“We write to express our strong support for equalized tolling to ensure that we are equitably distributing drivers across the various passages into Manhattan as no one community should disproportionately bear the burden of the cars and trucks passing through their neighborhood,” the letter read. “Equalized tolling would also have the critical benefit of extending the lifespan of the rapidly deteriorating Triple Cantilever section of the Brooklyn Queens-Expressway (BQE) by more equitably diverting traffic to the Carey Tunnel and other crossings into Manhattan.”
It is the hope that equalizing the cost across several bridges and tunnels will deter drivers from “bridge shopping,” which could amp up traffic on the least expensive options. The BQE has long been deteriorating as the city’s bureaucracy kicks the can down the road (expressway?) in coming up with solutions to fix it (De Blasio okayed cutting down traffic lanes, but Adams seems to be interested in adding more).
Congestion pricing, which was first approved by lawmakers in 2019 but has yet to actually be implemented, might finally become a reality in 2024. The MTA says that congestion pricing will help reduce traffic, improve air quality, and provide financing to our beleaguered public transit system.
The toll would likely amount to $9 to $23 to enter Manhattan south of 60th Street, in an area considered the city’s Central Business District. The plan earned the federal government’s stamp of approval in May, though potential legal action from New Jersey and Staten Island could further delay it.