Gridlock Sam: Add Tolls on NYC’s Free Bridges, 60th Street

NEW YORK (AP) -

Reviving a congestion-pricing idea that has been rejected before, an influential transportation coalition proposed implementing tolls for all cars that cross 60th Street in Manhattan and the free bridges spanning the East River.

The plan announced Tuesday by transportation guru Sam Schwartz, known as “Gridlock Sam,” would attempt to solve the MTA’s underfunded $32 billion capital plan.

Schwartz, who backed a similar funding proposal in 2012, questioned why some cross bridges for free while others pay ever-increasing amounts.

“In 2015, it’s time that we are fairer about how we collect tolls in the city of New York,” Schwartz said.

The new toll of $5.54 with E-ZPass would be charged to drivers crossing 60th Street on every avenue from the West Side Highway to FDR Drive. It would also apply to the Queensboro, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. That matches the current fare on the Queens Midtown and Brooklyn Battery tunnels. Taxis would be exempt from all tolls.

The plan would decrease tolls on major MTA bridges by $2.50, including the Verrazano and Throgs Neck.