Sunday, March 29, 2009

Feeling Groovy

Last Thursday the Daily News ran a blaring headline saying something about horrible transit fare hikes, and demanded that readers call the Governor and various other Albany luminaries to save our fares. Phone numbers were printed.

Since it was so easy, I took the Daily News up on their kind offer, and called up all those nice folks and thanked them for standing tough on the issue of keeping the 59th Street Bridge toll-free.

For a lot of us living in the outer boroughs, all this noise about saving the MTA, and the current subway fare, by adding tolls to certain bridges is just another attempt to impose "congestion pricing," a concept that cannot die enough times to make me happy.

Under congestion pricing, under the plan to add tolls to the East River bridges, people are discouraged from bringing cars into Manhattan by the prohbitive cost. Instead, they are encouraged to bring their cars into my neighborhood, and neighborhoods like mine, which already lacks adequate parking, and bring their noise and congestion with them. Then they can take the subway into Manhattan.

How does the MTA propose to handle all these additional riders? By raising fares and cutting service. Apparently while the MTA spent the last decade complaining they had no money for capital improvements, they were actually taking the money they supposedly did not have, and investing it in real estate. So now, when they say they don't have any money, we're supposed to believe them.

Here's a novel idea. Why don't we audit the MTAs books? I'M ONLY KIDDING!!!

In the particular case of tolls on the 59th Street bridge, there is the added problem of no place to put the toll booths, so that people who must take the bridge no matter what the toll (including truck drivers), can turn Queens Boulevard into a exhaust-filled stand-still as they wait to pay their tolls and get on the bridge.

So thank you State legislators for hanging tough.