Updated: Aug. 19, 2023, 10:09 p.m.|Published: Aug. 19, 2023, 6:00 p.m.
By Kayla Simas | [email protected]
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Staten Island elected officials on both sides of the aisle are taking action against congestion pricing and the negative effects they foresee will impact the borough.
The program will negatively affect the wallets, quality of life, and health of borough residents, the group of elected officials said Friday in social media posts and a press release sent to the media.
Under the proposed congestion pricing plan, motorists and truckers will be charged fees for traveling on streets and roadways south of 60th Street, with a few potential exceptions. Drivers could pay as much as $23 to enter Manhattan below 60th Street during peak hours. Proponents say the plan will reduce traffic and pollution.
Borough President Vito Fossella disagrees.
“Tolls will be higher, there will be no improvements to roads or public transportation, roads will be crowded and our air quality will worsen,’’ said Fossella, in a published statement.
The elected officials’ announcement was accompanied by a graphic outlining the negative impacts of congestion pricing. It reads vertically that Staten Islanders will be “S.C.R.E.W.E.D” by the plan.
An explanation of the acronym, outlining the disadvantages for Staten Islanders, is included in the announcement:
Staten Islanders get more tolls
Car owning is less affordable
Roads and public transit see no improvements
Extra cars and trucks on Staten Island roads
Way more pollution on Staten Island
Extra costs on goods and dining
Drivers still have no better option.
Fossella also said congestion pricing is a “driving tax in disguise” and “unacceptable.”
“We already have to pay to get off the Island,” he noted. “Now we’re being told we’ll have to pay an exorbitant sum to enter Manhattan, and our air is going to get worse for it. For an Island with high rates of lung cancer and asthma, this is simply unacceptable. We cannot bear so much burden while standing to gain absolutely nothing.”
City Councilman Joseph Borelli called congestion pricing a scam, and is using another city as a scaffold to help support his claim.
“This scam has failed to reduce congestion and pollution in London and forced thousands more cars into its outer-boroughs,’’ Borelli said. “Two-thirds of Londoners just voted against expanding their program, and one of the city’s previous mayors recanted his support of it.
“And yet, the Governor and MTA want us to believe that duplicating it here is anything more than a money-grab on the middle class. The disconnected MTA board could more easily convince me they live in Narnia than New York.”
Elected officials who have banded together in opposition to the congestion pricing plan are: Borough President Vito Fossella, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/South Brooklyn), State Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island), State Sen. Jessica Scarcella-Spanton (D-North Shore/South Brooklyn), Assemblyman Sam Pirozzolo (R-Mid Island), Assemblyman Michael Tannousis (R-East Shore/South Brooklyn), Assemblyman Mike Reilly (R-South Shore), Assemblyman Charles Fall (D-North Shore/Lower Manhattan), Councilman Joseph Borelli (R-South Shore), Councilman David Carr (R-Mid Island), and Councilwoman Kamilla Hanks (D-North Shore).
To sign up and support the fight against Congestion Pricing, residents can visit the website.