In a recent development, Rockland County residents are expressing their strong dissatisfaction with the Traffic Mobility Review Board’s (TMRB) recommendation of a $15 Central Business District (CBD) base car toll. The proposal, which includes a $5 credit for certain tunnels but excludes the George Washington Bridge (GWB), has sparked outrage among commuters who feel unfairly burdened by this decision.
Rockland County Executive Day issued a statement, highlighting the transit challenges faced by Rockland County residents. He emphasized that over 60% of the county’s residents have no alternative but to drive into the city due to a lack of viable transit options. To address this issue, his administration has consistently advocated for Rockland residents to be exempt from congestion pricing tolls or receive discounted rates for crossing the GWB, which is a critical entry point into the CBD.
The TMRB’s recommendation, however, falls short of these expectations. It proposes a $15 CBD base car toll with only a $5 credit for certain tunnels, leaving GWB commuters without any relief. This decision places an additional financial burden on Rockland commuters who already face high transit fares and the challenges of living farthest from the CBD.
County Executive Day argued that the ongoing congestion pricing discussions have primarily focused on improving transit options within New York City, with limited consideration for the residents of the MTA region outside the city. He expressed his disappointment with the lack of fairness in the toll proposal.
Furthermore, the County Executive emphasized that the recommendation is unjust to Rockland residents, including essential workers such as police officers and firefighters, who will be forced to pay more for using their vehicles due to the current system’s inadequacies.
Congressman Mike Lawler (NY-17) also weighed in on the matter, characterizing the congestion pricing proposal as a “cash grab” that would burden Hudson Valley commuters with an additional daily cost of $15. He warned that this could translate into an annual expense of up to $5,000 for commuters, describing it as an “outrageous and unacceptable” tax on New Yorkers.
Lawler criticized Governor Kathy Hochul, Albany legislators, and the MTA for imposing this tax to subsidize the MTA’s service without addressing the affordability crisis. He stressed his commitment to helping his constituents navigate the situation at the federal level and highlighted his efforts in opposing congestion pricing through various measures in Congress.