Brooklyn residents slam proposed river crossing tolls

Brooklyn residents and community leaders are criticizing some aspects of a new MTA plan unveiled by Gov. David Paterson Thursday, which is designed to close

BROOKLYN - Brooklyn residents and community leaders are criticizing some aspects of a new MTA plan unveiled by Gov. David Paterson Thursday, which is designed to close the agency?s $1.4 billion budget gap.

Under the plan, proposed by a special state commission, tolls will be collected on the four East River and Harlem River bridges, three of which connect Brooklyn to Manhattan.

"It's just an added expense to the people who work every day,? says motorist Victor Reyes. ?I don't agree with it personally. [It?s] hard enough getting around New York City.?

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz also voiced his criticism of the proposal, saying that ?the needs of mass transportation should not be on the backs of just one part of the city of New York.?

Markowitz added that although he does not support introducing tolls on river crossings, he is pleased with the rest the commission?s recommendations. Those recommendations include increasing transportation fares by 8 percent, instead of the initially proposed 23 percent, and taxing payrolls of all businesses in the metropolitan area.

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