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Fair tolls: Local pols aim to reduce Verrazzano toll for Brooklynites

Building bridges: Local pols want to reduce the fare for Brooklynites who frequently travel the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.
Brooklyn Paper
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Brooklynites who frequently cross the Verrazzano-Narrows bridge could soon see a steep fare discount, if a group of Kings County pols have there way.

Legislation introduced by State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D–Bay Ridge) and Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island) would provide Brooklyn residents using the city’s E-ZPass system who drive across the bridge at least 10 times each month, the same reduced toll price as Staten Island residents.

Brooklynites using E-ZPass system currently fork over $12.24 on each trip to the island borough, whereas Staten Island residents are charged a discounted rate of $5.50.

At an April 16 press conference announcing the legislation to even out the fares, Gounardes blasted the price disparity as excessive and unacceptable.

“For the thousands of Brooklyn residents who rely on the bridge for travel to work, school and medical appointments, these outrageous rates are unaffordable, unacceptable, and highlight the gross inequities of New York’s transit system,” he said.

The legislation, which would apply only to non-commercial vehicles, mimics the MTA’s decision earlier this month to eliminate the $2.29 E-ZPass toll on the Cross Bay Bridge for all Queens Residents.

Frontus criticized the MTA for constantly increasing fares for traveling New Yorkers, including on the Verrazzano, where fares have more than doubled since 2008.

“It’s time for the MTA to stop passing the buck,” she said. “The line has to be drawn somewhere when you see consistent increases in fares without corresponding tangible benefits being produced to match the burden.”

Freshman U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D–Bay Ridge), who represents both sides of the Verrazzano, encouraged the effort, arguing that Southern Brooklyn and Staten Island’s interlinked communities should not be separated by excessive fines.

“It is about time that we recognize that Staten Island and Brooklyn are one community, and rising tolls are becoming a barrier between families on both sides of the bridge,” he said. “I applaud Senator Gounardes efforts to give Brooklynites a break, and make it easier for them to reach their jobs or visit their families on Staten Island.”

City Councilman Justin Brannan (D–Bay Ridge) lent his support to the state legislators’ effort, arguing for equality in fares for residents on either side of the Verrazzano.

“Nobody is saying Staten Island shouldn’t get a discount, but what about Brooklyn?” he said. “It’s about time we are part of the conversation since, last time I checked, the bridge has two sides.”

The legislation, Senate Bill S4490, is currently awaiting a vote by the Senate’s Transportation Committee.

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577.
Posted 12:00 am, April 18, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble says:
Put a train line on it for crap sake.
April 18, 7:26 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
A more feasible option is to extend NYC Ferry between Bay Ridge and St. George Staten Island.
April 18, 7:45 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
yes and make the toll both ways...
April 18, 9:43 am
AOC from DC says:
We are all gonna die in 12 years and these idiots want to make it cheaper for drivers to kill us all? OMG!
April 18, 10:37 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
How about we just get rid of the tolls especially since the bonds that it was paying for have been long paid off?
April 18, 6:20 pm
The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
How about for Congress to create a two-way tolling for this bridge already to stop the total tolling confusion and having the same tolling price as other major toll crossings?
April 18, 6:34 pm
Timmy from Sunset Park says:
Whatever it takes to keep Michael Grimm and his supporters on the other side.
April 19, 12:39 pm
t from bath beach says:
Local recently elected Democrats introducing legislation that Republicans like Golden, Maliotokis,Grimm,Donovan all introduced and or supported in the past that previously and will go nowhere. If they really want to get the job done, why dont they appeal to their King Cuomo ( the second) who controls the MTA and could lower the toll for Brooklynites on a whim if he really wanted too since he controls the MTA.
April 19, 7:53 pm
Grace from Sheepshead Bay says:
The majority of people living in Staten Island migrated from Brooklyn neighborhoods. My own daughter married and moved there 33 years ago and I've been paying full price to visit her and the grandkids all these years. It was particularly costly when the children were younger and we would pick them up Friday night and bring them back Sunday night.This costly toll felt like extortion - you have to pay to see them! Just like the SI residents get a discount, so should Brooklyn residents with immediate family on the SI side. This idea is long overdue.
April 20, 7:17 am
Ridiculous says:
This is disturbing! When are they going to stop increasing the tolls! NYC should put a bike-lane/walking lane just like the Brooklyn/Manhattan bridge.
April 21, 10:34 am

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