Newest MTA Proposal Includes Bridge Tolls … Again

Some exemptions would be allowed

They're baa-aack.

Bridge tolls are once again at the center of Gov. Paterson's latest plan to raise $850 million a year for the cash-strapped MTA.

Tolls have been a hot topic in the bailout conversation, but this time around the resurrected plan includes exemptions for some drivers and increased taxes on Manhattan parking-garage spaces, the Post reported.

The tolls on the 13 East and Harlem river bridges would cost about the same as a $2 transit ride. Exemptions would allow free passage for those making medical visits and others with business-related purposes, the Post reported.

Former MTA chair Richard Ravitch has had Paterson's support as he has planned ways to bail out the MTA.

But Democrats and Republicans seem equally unimpressed. One told the Daily News that the proposal was "ridiculous," while another called it "anti-business."

"Sounds to me like the plans of a lunatic," Sen. Carl Kruger, D-Brooklyn, told the Post.

Also under the proposal, the MTA would generate $150 million a year with a tax increase of no more than 10 percent on parking garage spaces, according to the Post report.

If the measures pass, the tolls would not take effect for 18 months.

The MTA fare hikes go into effect on May 31. The service cuts begin a month later.

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