Angry New Yorker

Monday, March 14, 2005
Always More Money to Move Around NYC

New, and of course higher, tolls went into affect today on the cities bridges and tunnels. The anger is palpable, for as the New York Times notes "[t]hey unleashed a tirade of complaints: higher tolls (the second increase in two years), exorbitant insurance (among the highest in the nation), expensive parking (as much as $30 a day), and rising gas prices ($2 and up). The squeeze, they said, just never seems to stop."

Indeed, it never does stop. The MTA should be immediately taken over and investigated from top to bottom. It's painfully clear it is both unaccountable and unaccounted. In fact, the MTA was created primarily for both these purposes by Robert Moses to provide him with a source of revenue and the means of ramming through projects. The MTA webpage say, here, it is:

"A public-benefit corporation chartered by New York State in 1965, the MTA is governed by a 17-person Board. Members are nominated by the Governor, with some recommended by New York City's mayor and the county executives of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Putnam counties, with the members representing the latter four casting one collective vote. The Board also has six rotating non-voting seats held by representatives of organized labor and the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee (PCAC), which serves as a voice for users of MTA transit and commuter facilities. All Board members are confirmed by the New York State Senate."
Well doesn't this just inspire confidence. Six non-voting seats serve "as a voice for the users of MTA transit and commuter facilities" -- in other words "sit there, listen and shut up because we're not interested in what you say, because YOU HAVE NO VOTE in what we do." Nice.

The New York Times details today's price increases, ranging from a 50 cent hike for the Throgs Neck Bridge, the Midtown Tunnel, and the Whitestone Bridge, bringing a one-way toll on these crossings to $4.50. And the Verranzo-Narrows Bridge popped from $8 to $9 (one-way). That's a stiff nut.

I've also thought it was unconscionable to have no free crossing between boros of the same city. There's no way to cross directly from Staten Island to Brooklyn without paying; no way to cross from Queens to the Bronx without paying; and if there was some way for the MTA to slap a toll on people driving between Brooklyn and Queens, which are adjacent to each other, you can be sure they would.

We're angry alright.

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