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Queens Lawmaker Suggests Fast Lanes At NYC Bridges, Tunnels For Drivers Willing To Pay

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A proposed plan could add fast lanes to some bridges and tunnels around New York City that would let drivers bypass traffic for a price.

During a transportation panel discussion in Albany, Queens Assemblyman David Weprin said he would like to add express lanes on bridges and tunnels for drivers willing to cough up the dough for the quick convenience.

The plan would charge motorists for faster travel on bridges and highways that are already tolled, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported.

"Say right now they're $7.50 to go through the Midtown tunnel. Maybe we could reduce that to $5 or $6 and have the express lane for maybe $10 where people can pay more to have that fast service," he said.

Drivers had mixed opinions.

"I hate the traffic," one driver said, adding that he'd be willing to pay for a faster ride.

Another driver replied "absolutely not" when asked if he would be willing to pay to go through an express lane.

"Never for anything, not even for an express lane. Not worth it, period, because it's just a money grab," the driver added.

Weprin made the suggestion during a transportation panel discussion. He said the fast lane charge could bring in needed revenue, and help avoid raising current tolls.

Some commuters said the paid express lane would only benefit the rich.

"It costs so much for gas, and then to go into Manhattan to find parking, it's kind of ridiculous to pay to go into Manhattan," Michael Price said.

There's already legislation being considered in Albany to add tolls to the 'no toll' East River crossings.

Weprin said he wants to keep the free options available to those who can't afford the charge.

"In a sense having some bridges tolled, and other bridges free is also somewhat elitist. So if you could afford the toll bridges it's almost always faster," he said.

For now it's just an idea, not an official proposal, and Weprin did not say exactly how much drivers would be charged.

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