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More fare: Local pols push for two-way Verrazzano toll

Two ways or the highway: A group of local politicians introduced legislation that would impart a two-way toll on drivers crossing the Verrazzano—Narrows Bridge.
Brooklyn Paper
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They want it both ways.

Drivers will soon pay tolls in both directions on the Verrazzano—Narrows Bridge, if a group of local politicians have their way.

Federal legislation introduced by three Kings County lawmakers would cut commuter fares in half, to be paid in both directions on the bridge.

Currently, drivers fork over $19 on each trip from Brooklyn to Staten Island, or $12.24 for travelers using the E-ZPass system, whereas drivers can enter Brooklyn from the island borough free of charge. The current system allows out-of-state commuters to use the bridge as a cheap entry to the City, said one rep.

“The restoration of toll collection in both directions, using electronic tolling that does not require stops at a toll plaza, will greatly improve traffic and congestion in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, while also capturing new vital funding for the MTA from out-of-state trucks, who no longer will avoid a toll entering New York City via Staten Island,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Borough Park).

Nadler presented the legislation at an April 28 press conference at the Wadsworth Visitor’s Center on Staten Island with fellow Reps. Max Rose (D–Bay Ridge) and Nydia Velázquez (D–Sunset Park), along with the chairman of the MTA, who called the current toll system unnecessary.

“Given today’s technology, there is no reason to require tolls only in one direction on this important crossing, and we look forward to rationalizing the collections so they match every other tolled-bridge in the nation, helping to fund the next MTA capital plan including much-needed investments in Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn,” said Patrick Foye.

Foye estimated that implementing two-way tolling would provide the MTA with an additional $10 to $15 million funds annually.

Rose, the freshman congressman who represents both sides of the bridge, said charging commuters from the island borough to Brooklyn would reduce excessive amounts of traffic.

“Staten Island and South Brooklyn have been used as a cheap thoroughfare for far too long,” he said. “The status quo is not working for Staten Islanders and South Brooklynites who are living through nightmare commutes every single day.”

Two-way tolling would discourage out-of-state truck drivers from entering southern Brooklyn in an effort to skirt the fares of other throughways, causing severe congestion in residential areas, according to one City Councilman, who applauded the federal legislation.

“Gone will be the days of toll-shopping trucks snaking their way through our community and choking our streets just to save a few bucks,” said Justin Brannan (D–Bay Ridge). “Now, the only reason we’ll see them in Bay Ridge or Dyker Heights is if they need to make a local delivery.”

The two-way toll effort comes after a recent push by a group of state legislators to provide Brooklyn residents who frequently cross the bridge a reduced fare of $5.50, a discount already provided to State Island locals.

After sponsoring that legislation earlier this month, Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island) said a two-way toll was necessary for balancing the need for additional MTA revenue while helping local residents.

“Reinstating the two-way toll on the Verrazzano—Narrows Bridge conveys consensus among us elected officials in the area when it comes to finding the balance between helping our constituents and ensuring that we continue to raise revenue to maintain and improve the conditions of our local transportation system,” she said.

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow her at twitter.com/aidangraham95.
Updated 1:56 pm, April 29, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Commenter from Bay Ridge says:
This would be good news for people that use the Holland Tunnel and bad news for those that use the VZB to Staten Island, as the change in tolling will lead to most trucks going back to using the bridge.
April 29, 2019, 1:12 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
its going to happen anyway because of congestion pricing but sooner is better...
April 29, 2019, 2:16 pm
The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
This change requires Congressional approval, since fellow congressman Max Rose are taking this very seriously for his own constituents in his own district. Make it two way and cut the tolls in half in each way, with rebates to boot for transit starved residents. And more bridge shopping to boot. It's more common sense to me.
April 30, 2019, 9:40 am
PA crooks from NYC says:
PA crooks have no right to take our money before we use their "services". Suppose we come back to NYC another way than a PA way, or not at all! And even for when we do come back, think of all that cash they are sitting on, "interest free", that they'd be otherwise be waiting for hours, days, weeks, or months later when we return. Besides, I so look fwd to the day I leave this NYC government misery and never return. NYC life isn't what it's Crack up to be.
April 30, 2019, 11:33 am
Merlino Fabro from Dyker Heights says:
This is a ploy to transfer revenue from the Port Authority to the MTA. If any trucks from NJ stop using the Verrazzano Bridge, they will quickly be replaced by cars from NJ. There will be no traffic improvements, except an even slower rid into Manhattan and Brooklyn.
April 30, 2019, 2:17 pm
Hallie Woo says:
Flippity flop , bitsch !
April 30, 2019, 10:56 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
A better idea would be to just eliminate the toll on the VNB altogether so that everyone will win on that. Why is Staten Island the only place where you need to pay a toll just to leave? I can see why they are the biggest opponents to congestion pricing considering that they are the only borough that has barely any good transit options. As a matter of fact, I think all the tolls around NYC should be removed especially if the bonds used for building them were paid off long ago. Another thing is that we should do a better audit on the MTA to see where their existing revenues are going to before even thinking about something like congestion pricing so that they won't need to do such constant hikes. More importantly, I'm tired of us motorists always having to be the cash cow to help fund almost everything especially when it involves a transit system we can barely use ourselves and have to resort to driving due to having such schedules.
May 2, 2019, 2:44 pm

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