Locals fight back against another toll increase

BROOKLYN - Residents and local leaders plan to fight back as Mayor Bloomberg?s congestion pricing plan aims to charge people for driving over East River bridges.

Three of the four East River bridges go into and out of Brooklyn, and local businesses and residents feel they?ll be hit the hardest by the new plan. However, Brooklyn was hit by similar legislation in 2002, and local leaders say they fought it then and plan to fight it again until it is eliminated.

A local councilman said that when the legislation was introduced in 2002, it was estimated that it could have resulted in a decline of over $1.5 million annually in economic activity, and that as many as 12,000 people could have lost their jobs. He said that the numbers were old, and that present day statistics would only be worse.

Officials wonder if the mayor is using the concept of increasing congestion as the reason for the second push. However, they say that if the issue is revenue and not congestion, they believe reissuing commuter tax would be a better option. Commuter tax would charge those who do not live in the city but use the amenities when they come to work.

News 12 Brooklyn asked the mayor?s office for a comment, but was told that the congestion pricing committee is evaluating various proposals and will not issue a comment until the report is submitted.

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