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Queens Lawmakers Object To Cuomo's Manhattan Congestion Pricing Idea

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering congestion pricing with no source of revenue to find the city's aging subway system, and some lawmakers in Queens do not like the idea at all.

As WCBS 880's Myles Miller reported, the congestion pricing could include tolls on the East River crossings and a fee for crossing 60th Street in Manhattan.

State Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens) said his district has few transportation options and would suffer.

"Those residents drive into Manhattan not because it's a pleasant experience; not because they enjoy traffic or driving in their cars, but because they feel they have no other option," he said.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz represents the borough's 2.3 million residents, and said it is a regressive tax that would hurt working families.

"There's something inequitable about charging people to go into a certain area of Manhattan if they're not from there," she said.

Miguel Arevalo works out of an ice cream truck. He told CBS2's Dave Carlin he picks it up in Long Island City and drives it back and forth over the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge -- which is currently toll free.

"I don't agree with putting a toll on that bridge," he said Sunday.

Arevalo says he wonders how much longer it will remain toll free after hearing about the governor's proposal.

"Every single day going back and forth, so if it's $4 it's $8, that means like $56 dollars a week," he said.

Supporters of congestion pricing like the potential for mass transit revenue and the possibility for fewer cars on the crossings.

Other drivers who pay the tolls say go ahead and do it.

"If we pay to get on Staten Island, everybody should pay to get wherever they live," Staten Island resident Alison Knapp said.

The Queens politicians who gathered Sunday were asked why protest a plan that isn't even on paper yet. They replied tolls must be off the table from the get-go.

Cuomo's spokesperson Jon Weinstein released a statement Sunday evening saying in part; "it's perplexing that a press conference was held on a proposal that hasn't been proposed yet."

The governor has not offered any specifics about the plan.

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