Rockland County Executive Urges MTA Board to Reject Congestion Pricing Toll Structure Recommendations

In a letter addressed to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Rockland County Executive Ed Day passionately called for the MTA Board to vote against advancing the Traffic Mobility Review Board’s (TMRB) Congestion Pricing Toll Structure Recommendations.

In the letter, Executive Day expressed his concerns regarding the flawed nature of the TMRB Recommendation Report, primarily pointing out that it failed to analyze the impact of credits for any of the tolled bridge crossings, as mandated by the State legislation governing the congestion pricing program.

The MTA Reform and Traffic Mobility Review Act require the TMRB to recommend a plan for credits, discounts, and exemptions for tolls paid on bridges and crossings, backed by a thorough traffic study analyzing the impact of such credits, discounts, and exemptions on the recommended toll. However, the TMRB neglected to evaluate toll credits for the three tolled bridge crossings into Manhattan, including the Henry Hudson, RFK, and George Washington bridges. It also appeared that any consideration of bridge toll credits had been abandoned before the TMRB convened.

Executive Day challenged the TMRB Report’s assertion that the crossing credit should not apply to vehicles reaching the zone indirectly via other tolled crossings, citing a lack of evidence or analysis to support this claim.

He further emphasized that the MTA Board should not proceed with the rate-making process or present a proposed toll schedule for public review until the legally-required analysis of credits for tolled bridges into Manhattan is completed.

Referencing the Regional Plan Association’s recommendation to credit all drivers entering Manhattan for tolls paid if they continue into the congestion zone, Executive Day urged the MTA Board to consider an exemption from the Central Business District (CBD) toll for Rockland County residents. He argued that Rockland County residents have consistently received less in return compared to what they contribute to the MTA, pointing out a significant value gap over the past 25 years.

Executive Day likened this situation to “taxation without representation” due to the limited influence Rockland County has on the MTA Board. He highlighted that no other MTA member experiences a Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) less than 100%.

Requesting a full exemption from the CBD toll for Rockland County residents, Executive Day noted that this would still leave a significant value gap. He stated that the exemption would have minimal impact on the base CBD toll rate for other drivers, as the number of Rockland County drivers traveling to the CBD is relatively small.

Executive Day also criticized the absence of planned capital investments by the MTA to improve or expand transit availability from Rockland County. Despite significant payments to the MTA, Rockland County residents have not seen investments to enhance their transit options.

Highlighting the lack of funding allocated for expanding transit availability from Rockland County in conjunction with the MTA’s Congestion Pricing program, Executive Day asserted that Rockland County would receive no direct benefit from the billions collected through the CBD Toll Program.

In closing, Executive Day thanked the MTA Board for considering a CBD toll exemption for Rockland County residents and signed the letter as Edwin J. Day, Rockland County Executive.

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