Staten Island and the UFT Unite in the Next Bid to Stop Congestion Pricing

A picture shows the Verrazano Bridge, on July 1, 2017 in New York City. / AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)Photo: AFP

Congestion pricing is set to descend on New York City in April, yet lawsuits to stop it from happening are still being filed. The latest legal attempt to derail the $15 toll is a joint effort filed by the United Federation of Teachers and Staten Island. Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella readily admits the lawsuit may not have much hope of succeeding but, in an appearance on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program, Fossella said Staten Island’s residents had to try because they will bear the brunt of what they see as nothing more than a cash grab.

“We feel that, at least from a Staten Island perspective, that congestion pricing is a three-strike loser,” Fossella explained to Berman and Riedel when asked about the lawsuit. “[The MTA] studies revealed that air pollution will get worse on Staten Iland, traffic will get worse on Staten Island, and people will have to pay an additional $15 to get into Manhattan from Staten Island… and we do not have a subway [or] commuter rail, in part because the MTA has failed to provide that… so why should we subsidize an operation in this form, which would only make matters worse?”

Fossella says the average Staten Islander will now have to fork over an extra $4,000 a year if they work in Manhattan but will see none of the benefits congestion pricing is supposed to pay for. “We don’t have those [transit] options, so you almost need a car to get around to get to work… The logic of congestion pricing is, well, I can sort of take a step back and say we’re going to reduce traffic in the central business district, but that’s not what this is about. This is about grabbing money, you know, we need a billion dollars. And if this was about congestion pricing only or congestion, why would you charge a fee at three o’clock in the morning? So I think that’s why we’re looking this in a somewhat cynical view of what they’re doing.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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