So Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer is jumping on the congestion pricing bandwagon, claiming he’s fed up
with traffic around Long Island City and the Queensboro Bridge (“Key Pol Backs E. River Tolls”). But no hard data supports the claim that East River Bridge tolls will reduce the congestion in Queens.Besides, where would those displaced vehicles go? Unfettered construction in Long Island City has increased density and replaced almost every parking lot in the district. With no place to park, where can drivers leave their cars? And much of the new construction was “incentivized” by real estate tax breaks. The real estate industry gets annual 421a property tax exemptions in the billions; over $1.1 billion for 2013, says the NYC Independent Budget Office. If construction tax breaks contribute to congestion why should outer borough businesses and motorists pony up the estimated annual $1.5 billion that MoveNY claims its congestion pricing plan will raise to pick up the slack?
We’re all for smart development, but in the discussions to raise money for mass transit and our decaying infrastructure everything should be on the table.