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Legislator Hofstein: MTA Needs Discounts For Rockland Commuters Before New Manhattan Tolls Are Charged

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Rockland County legislators want better treatment from the MTA as it prepares to launch new tolls estimated to cost daily commuters who drive into Manhattan an extra $3,000 annually.

The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Central Business District Tolling Program could launch as soon as June. “At the very least, we deserve to be treated fairly and this New York City MTA plan does the complete opposite,” Rockland County Legislator Minority Leader Lon M. Hofstein said. “No discounts will be made available to Rockland commuters. Instead, these commuters are looking at a $15 per day toll – a brand new tax – just because they work in downtown Manhattan.”

Legislator Hofstein is the sponsor of a resolution unanimously adopted by the County Legislature that calls on the Governor and the State Legislature to delay the new tolling program until passage of a state law mandating discounts for Rockland and other drivers entering the city after crossing the Tappan Zee or George Washington bridges.

The Central Business District Tolling Program, also referred to as congestion pricing, would affect vehicles entering all parts of Manhattan at or below 60th Street, excluding the FDR Drive, the West Side Highway, and the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn-Battery) Tunnel connection to West Street.

State lawmakers and then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo authorized the plan in 2019 as a way to ease traffic and reduce air pollution in NYC’s congested business core and as a way to raise $1 billion annually for upgrades to the city’s transit system. Approximately 4,000 daily Rockland commuters travel into the congestion zone. Drivers who cross the Tappan Zee or George Washington bridges on their way into the congestion zone will get zero discounts.

Legislator Hofstein said the treatment of Rockland drivers mirrors that of the “metropolitan commuter transportation mobility tax,” a 2009 payroll tax put in place on employers and the self-employed not only in NYC, but Long Island and Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Duchess and Westchester counties.

Yet, Rockland still hasn’t seen any bang for the buck despite the additional funding it has been providing for the past 15 years, still has no one-seat train ride into Manhattan, and still has no significant MTA system improvements in Rockland. Just the opposite, Rockland experiences a $40 million value gap between how much is paid into the MTA via taxes and other revenue versus the services provided.

The overwhelming majority of revenue to be collected by the new congestion pricing tolls is slated to cover the costs of operating the NYC Transit bus and subway system.

“Rockland and other commuters outside New York City are again being forced to supplement transportation costs for commuters who live in New York City,” Legislator Hofstein said. “The commuters using the New York City Mass Transit System should be held responsible to supplement the cost for any improvements made. To place the burden on those commuting from Rockland is unfair and just wrong.”

He added, “The MTA and others need to stop seeing people who live outside New York City’s official boundaries as ATMs that they can just keep draining. This new toll, which is a tax, is going to cause hardships on many families who are already struggling just to get by,” Legislator Hofstein said.

Government

FBI Warning of Potential Attack County & Towns, Law Enforcement On Alert

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New City, NY – The County of Rockland, along with towns and law enforcement, are on alert following an FBI warning made Thursday to the House of Representatives. During that panel, FBI Bureau Director Christopher Wray said he was increasingly concerned about “the potential for a coordinated attack here [United States] in the homeland, akin to the Isis-K attack we saw at the Russia Concert Hall just a couple weeks ago.”

“As I look back over my career in law enforcement, I would be hard-pressed to think of a time where so many threats to our public safety and national security were so elevated all at once. But that is the case as I sit here today,” said Wray.

Back in March, 144 people were killed and over 500 injured when four armed gunman stormed a Russian concert hall and open fired before setting fire to the building. The Islamic State group took responsibility for what is the deadliest attack in Russia in two decades.

The County of Rockland along with its municipal partners are on alert following the FBI Warning and urge residents who see something to say something.

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Government

Rockland County District Attorney’s Office Held a Senior Scam Presentation At Atria New City

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Chief Assistant District Attorney Patrick Frawley, Executive Assistant District Attorney Nabeela McLeod, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Joseph Santangelo had the opportunity to meet with seniors from Atria in New City to discuss how to identify a scam call, the most recent scams that are targeting senior citizens, and the best ways to protect yourself and loved ones from scams.
This is an ongoing initiative for District Attorney Tom Walsh and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, and we will continue to attend and host these informative presentations across Rockland County.

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