It used to be that in New York City, government thought that the way it could raise revenue was by hiking taxes and tolls. Under that old philosophy, New York City's taxes and tolls became higher and more burdensome than anywhere else in the country. Traveling throughout the City + to work, to pick your child up at school, or to go shopping, an activity we are all familiar with this holiday season + always came with a price.
In the short term, high tolls and high public transportation costs might earn money for City government and make it easier for City government to balance its budgetary books. But anyone with foresight could see that raising the cost of living in the City only drives working people away, taking jobs elsewhere, and hampering economic growth.
But over the last four years, we have advanced a new philosophy. As the Capital of the World, New York City deserves, and needs, a transportation system that lives up to our many personal and commercial needs without emptying our pockets in the process.
Throughout our history, we've always depended on our elaborate transportation network of subways and buses, with bridges, roads and tunnels for private and commercial vehicles. That's why we worked so hard over the last four years to start the "One City, One Fare" bus and subway plan including free transfers, a free Staten Island ferry, and the end of two-fare zones. And that is also why we have been committed to finishing road construction projects on budget and on time.
Over the next four years, I'm committed to continuing to improve the state of transit, both into and within New York City. We will do our best to reduce tolls, improve service, and make public transportation as affordable and efficient as possible.
To this end, this week I announced that my administration is working on a proposal to cut Metropolitan Transportation Authority bridge and tunnel tolls in half for E-Z Pass users traveling between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. The change would first go into effect for trucks, and later for cars.
The City does not have control over the MTA, so we will have to seek the support for this plan from the Governor and the MTA board.
But the plan, if implemented, would complement the MTA's plans to implement an unlimited-ride daily, weekly, and monthly pass system for the City's subways and buses beginning mid-next year. I have been in favor of using the MTA's surplus to give bus and subway riders a discount. The discounts provided are a movement in the right direction. But offering 12 rides for 10 rather than just 11 for 10 would help all working New Yorkers even more. We will continue to push for it.
Four years from now, I want New York City to be easier and less burdensome to live in and to get around. I'm committed to building on the gains we have made in order to create a transportation network that is worthy of New York City, and New Yorkers.