Nassau County Republicans unite against congestion pricing

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Nassau County Republicans unite against congestion pricing
A file photo of Nassau Republican Committee chairman Joseph Cairo. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Fifty Nassau County Republicans took a stand against congestion pricing at a news conference in Westbury last Thursday.

The GOP members allege that the plan to tax drivers who travel into the central business district of Manhattan, defined as south of 60th Street, will adversely affect commuters from the suburbs.

U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) called it “a direct assault on the suburban voters and the people of Nassau and Suffolk County.”

He said he is not sure why the governor believes that only rich people drive into Manhattan. He said that this will have a direct impact on middle-income people who have to drive into Manhattan for work or other reasons, such as the hospital.

State Assemblywoman Melissa Miller (R-Atlantic Beach) said as the parent of a medically frail child she often has to take him into lower Manhattan for medical treatment.

“I know many others who have to do the same,” she said.  “Why should we be punished?”

Joseph Cairo, chairman of the Nassau Republican Committee, said that since Democrats have taken control of the state Legislature, there is “a tax frenzy going on.”

The tax plan was approved in the state budget that passed earlier this month. It is to be implemented no sooner than Dec. 31, 2020, and is projected to accrue $15 billion that will be dedicated to funding MTA capital projects.

Ten percent of the funds from congestion pricing and other tax plans are expected to be allocated to the Long Island Rail Road, which is projected to be about $2.5 billion.

Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) questioned whether the Long Island Rail Road will ever receive the funds from the tolling plan.

“I’m sure that Long Island Rail Road will get that 10 percent, just like our schools get all that money from the lottery,” he said.

Nicolello suggested that the subways be managed more efficiently and effectively and policed better, rather than increasing taxes on commuters.

The new tolls are to be determined by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority with input from a six-member Traffic Mobility Review Board.

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