In the early 70s, the newly passed federal Clean Air Act required coming up with a plan to clean up the City's air. Mayor John Lindsay and Governor Nelson Rockefeller supported a new $0.50 toll on the Harlem and East River Bridges, which would both reduce congestion and raise money for the failing transit system. The taxi and trucking industries, among others, fought the plan. Eventually, Senator Moynihan and Representative Holtzman got the Clean Air Act amended to take the pressure off the City, and the toll plan was abandoned.
In the early 1980s, there were plans to ban single-occupancy automobiles from using the East River bridges during weekday rush hour, or to toll these vehicles. Lawsuits led to rulings that the City did not have authority to do this. In 1986, Senator Alfonse D'Amato, from Staten Island, used federal law to get rid of the eastbound tolls on the Verrazano Bridge. In 1987, Mayor Koch's proposed congestion pricing plan led to demonstrations in front of City Hall. A business-labor coalition convinced the Mayor to withdraw his plan.
Congestion pricing was part of Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC2030: A Greener, Greater New York, announced on Earth Day in 2007. This proposal involved an $8 toll for cars ($21 for trucks) entering Manhattan below 60th St., 6 AM - 6 PM weekdays. Several roadways, and the East River bridges, were exempted. The proposal never even got to a vote in the NYS Assembly. Failing to implement the plan cost the City $354 million in federal assistance for traffic congestion and mass transit improvements; instead, the US DOT gave the money to other cities for traffic congestion relief.