Various reports say that State Senate Democrats are dropping the plan to toll East River and Harlem River bridge crossings, which has split their party. The Daily News reports that they "are expected to unveil a watered-down MTA bailout that would keep the city's bridges free but leave less money for transit, sources said Monday night." The NY Times calls the new proposal a "short-term alternative" that still leaves unanswered questions for the MTA.
The bridge toll plan was part of a plan suggested by Richard Ravitch as a way to generate revenue for the deficit-ridden MTA and limit the severity of MTA fare hikes—around the 23-30% range— and service: Drivers would pay tolls as subway, bus and rail commuters would pay slightly higher fares and businesses pay a payroll tax. The News says, Ravitch plan "supporters call it a comprehensive, long-term plan tackling two perennial issues: keeping the transit system affordable and preventing it from sliding into disrepair and unreliability."
According to the NY Times, the Senate plan "would include a 4 percent fare increase, half of what Mr. Ravitch had proposed. It would also impose a tax of 25 cents on every $100 of payroll on employers within the 12 counties served by the authority. That would be significantly less than the 34 cents that Mr. Ravitch had proposed." It's unclear how much revenue the Senate plan would generate, but in other words, the plan is: Subway/ bus/ rail raiders pay more, businesses pony up for a payroll tax an drivers still pay NOTHING.
The State Senate believes there's enough time to go back and figure out how to help fund the MTA's construction projects later this year, but Ravitch has worried short-term solutions ignore thinking about the MTA's larger financial picture. And one person told NY1, "Something has to be done. We know that there's a deficit. We know we need to put money somewhere. I don't want people who take subways and buses to bear the brunt of the financial burden. People who drive cars have more money."