Thomas Robert Stevens, the Personal Freedom Party candidate for New York City Public Advocate, has called for the elimination of all bridge and tunnel tolls in the New York City metropolitan area. In a statement issued July 5, 2013, Dr. Stevens said the following:
Bridge and tunnel tolls significantly interfere with the ability of local businesses to draw customers from other boroughs and nearby states. Excessive tolls cost jobs, negatively impact the economy and take money out of the pockets of New York City residents who can certainly find better things to spend it on. Tolls are an unwelcome financial burden, a hidden tariff on goods and services from other boroughs and an additional tax New York City residents can ill-afford.
If a Bronx resident wishes to patronize AMC Loews Bay Terrace 6 or shop at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center just across the Throgs Neck Bridge, that potential customer will need to pay $15.00 in tolls to make that choice. Just the other night, I traveled from Queens County to go to a $6.00 movie in North Bergen, New Jersey and paid $28.00 in tolls. A Staten Island resident who decides to have dinner in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn must add $15.00 to the cost of the evening when making that decision. Local businesses suffer because they lose customers, have lower profits and cannot keep as many people employed. This extra financial burden is also felt by local businesses that make deliveries throughout the metropolitan area and by residents who no longer have that extra cash to make purchases and to pay bills.
The New York City metropolitan area needs to become a Free Trade Zone without trade barriers and hidden tariffs on goods purchased in other boroughs. The market needs to be opened up so the only cost of travelling to your favorite business is the cost of gas, which is not too much of a burden given that most destinations within New York City are within 20 miles of wherever you may live. We need to do everything in our power to help businesses thrive in New York City and to provide toll relief for everyone.
Bridge and tunnel tolls need to be eliminated immediately. As an interim step, all Port Authority and MTA tolls for bridges and tunnels in the New York City Metropolitan area need to be reduced to no more than $1.00 for each crossing. I call for legislative action to eliminate the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Alternative ways can and must be found to finance road repair, maintain infrastructure, and pay the salaries of those employees doing necessary work. Taxes are already too high on New Yorkers. The construction costs of bridges and tunnels have been paid off years ago and yet the politicians continue to allow bridge and tunnel users to be fleeced and shaken down for significant amounts of cash every time they cross a bridge or use a tunnel.
People need to rise up and say "enough is enough". Tolls on bridges and tunnels in the New York City Metropolitan area must be ended now.
Thomas Robert Stevens obtained the nomination of the Personal Freedom Party to run for New York City Public Advocate at a convention held on May 11, 2013. At that convention, Sam Sloan was nominated as the Personal Freedom Party's nominee for Mayor and Kristin Davis was nominated as the Personal Freedom Party's nominee for Comptroller.