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Sound Bites: Thousands of NYC buses, municipal vehicles could avoid congestion pricing

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Good morning. 26,000 New York City buses and other municipal vehicles could be exempt from city congestion pricing tolls. 

Passenger vehicles will be charged $15, trucks will be charged up to $36 and motorcycles will be charged $7.50. The final vote on the pricing will go to a vote this week. If approved, tolls are expected to begin in June. The plan is expected to generate $1 billion annually for the MTA. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

New sports betting location opens at Bridgeport’s Total Mortgage Area. The Connecticut Lottery Corporation partnered with Fanatics Betting & Gaming to build the facility as a part of the contract with the Bridgeport Islanders. The $1.4 million sportsbook will be open seven days a week. This is the state’s tenth CLC retail location.

An NYPD officer from Nassau County was fatally shot. Jonathan Diller was killed Monday while conducting a traffic stop in Far Rockaway. The two occupants refused to exit their car, and shot Diller in his torso. Diller’s partner was able to apprehend the suspect. Diller later died at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. A vigil will be held in Massapequa Park on Wednesday.

New York activists threaten to sue the state Board of Elections. The “Leave It Blank” campaign wants voters to cast blank ballots in the Democratic presidential primary in protest of President Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas War. They say they will sue if these ballots go unreported. The goal is to gauge the number of Democrats opposed to the war, and put pressure on the president to call for a ceasefire. Blank ballot results were previously reported in 2020 and 2022.

Mystic Aquarium receives $2 million in federal funds. The funds will be used for programs to help save endangered marine life. That includes African penguins, beluga whales, North Atlantic right whales and various sea turtles. Aquarium officials say a quarter of marine mammals, half of penguins, and most species of sea turtles are threatened with extinction.

Suspended Southold police sergeant sues the town. Steven Witzke is suing for the “untimely” handling of his suspension. He was suspended in 2023 for hosting a retirement party that violated COVID-19 safety protocols in 2020. Witizke said the town had necessary information to charge him in 2020 and should not have waited so many years later. He is asking for the charges to be dismissed and for his deducted pay and benefits to be restored.

New York delays downstate casino licenses, meaning casino companies will have to wait till late 2025. Gaming officials say state zoning, land-use and environmental reviews are expected to take the rest of this year. Once complete, bidders need approval from citizens advisory councils. Those are expected to begin no later than mid-2025.

Ex-NBA player Ben Gordon may have his charges dropped by late 2025. The former UConn Husky was arrested in April 2023 after an outburst at a Stamford juice shop, wielding a stun gun and a knife. Gordon’s lawyer said he is bipolar and has since attended 55 psychotherapy sessions. Gordon will participate in a probation program where, if he does not commit any crimes for 18 months, his charges will be dropped by next September.

Former Suffolk County Legislator begins prison sentence. George Guldi was convicted in 2023 for attempting to steal over $250,000 from a mortgage lender. The 70-year-old began his three-year prison sentence last week. A fifth attempt to delay his surrender date was denied. Guldi plans to appeal his case.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.