Lawmakers announce legislation that would exempt Rockland from NYC congestion pricing

Some Hudson Valley lawmakers are working on a law that would exempt some drivers from New York City congestion pricing tolls that are supposed to begin next year.
Ingrid Boucicaut says highway and bridge tolls in the New York City metro area are already too much, but driving is easier than taking a ferry and two trains with her 7-year-old twins.
She says she doesn't like the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's plans for another toll that would charge people as much as $23 to drive south of 60th Street in Manhattan.
State Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick and Assembly MemberKen Zebrowski were in Haverstraw Wednesday to announce legislation that would exempt Rockland County residents from congestion pricing whenever they pay a bridge or tunnel toll to get into the city.
The lawmakers don't expect much of the $1 billion a year the tolls would generate to go toward improving Rockland County transit.
"We know that Rockland is a transit desert. We do not have the train service that we need here. We do not have the mass transit service we need. So, for the MTA to come and tell us, 'We're going to tax Rockland County in order to fund transit service in New York City' - unacceptable," says Reichlin-Melnick.
MTA officials say congestion pricing would ease traffic, lessen pollution and help improve transportation throughout the metro area.
The agency says it's been working with New Jersey Transit and Amtrak on long-term plans for a train that crosses the Hudson River - then people there might be able to get a shorter, one-seat trip right into the city.
MTA data shows just 1% of all commuters to the Manhattan business district are from Rockland County.