Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer endorses Move NY plan
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announced this morning his support for the Move NY plan, a controversial transportation proposal which endeavors to solve the city’s ailing transportation system by implementing tolls along the four East River bridges and 60th Street corridor, as well as decreasing charges for tolls already in place.
“We’ve seen massive congestion problems both on the subway cars and platforms of the 7 Train themselves, and then in addition to that, in the run up to the Queensboro Bridge,” Councilman Van Bramer said in a statement. “That’s why I am saying now we need to focus on this investment into our mass transit. The MoveNY plan is the best and most responsible way to get us there. This is a responsible way to ensure that the MTA’s needs are fully funded on an ongoing basis without putting a financial burden on the backs of riders.”
Under the plan, rolled out early this year, tolls would be imposed on vehicles making trips into Manhattan’s Central Business District via the four East River bridges, while tolls on bridges like the Verrazano and RFK, which charge $8 with an EZPass, would be decreased by 39 to 48 percent, a shift from Bloomberg’s 2008 plan.
Drivers on the East River bridges and crossing 60th Street would be subject to a $5.54 EZPass toll, while tolls already in place on major MTA bridges would drop by $2.50 each way with an EZPass, and minor bridge tolls would drop by $1 each way.
While over three dozen state and city elected officials have thrown support behind the plan, including Council members Donovan Richards and Antonio Reynoso and State senator José Peralta, the proposal has garnered its share of detractors. Opponents often compare the proposal to Mayor Bloomberg’s ill-fated congestion pricing plan, which died after Assembly Democrats refused to put the bill up for a vote.
“I believe that city residents are savvy enough to understand that this is the fatally flawed congestion pricing proposal redone under a different name,” said Queens State Senator Joseph Addabo, Jr. in a statement on the plan earlier this year. “I didn’t support it back in 2008 as a City Councilman and I don’t support it now as a state senator.”
The de Blasio administration has said it will consider the plan, and Governor Cuomo has voiced skepticism that the proposal would garner enough votes to pass.
Move NY’s Campaign Director Alex Matthiessen said in a statement that Van Bramer’s endorsement was a major success for the proposal.
“Majority Leader Van Bramer’s endorsement gives the campaign to enact the Fair Plan a nice shot in the arm,” his statement read. “As the City Council’s majority leader and a widely respected member of the Queens delegation, his support is especially meaningful and significant. Majority Leader Van Bramer has done his homework and like a growing number of New Yorkers, has come to the conclusion that the Move NY Fair Plan is the best and only option for reducing traffic, improving transit, and securing a sustainable revenue stream to maintain and expand our transportation network.”