Letter to the editor: Reduce Tolls

August 22, 2011 Editorial Staff
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The tolls on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge are out of control. Tohelp reduce or defray the tolls, I think Mayor Bloomberg shouldsell the naming rights to the bridge to a large Fortune 500company. If sports arenas and stadiums have corporate sponsors orbranding, why not the Verrazano bridge?

The bridge is an iconic landmark worth a lot of money to asponsor. The branding contract could run for 20 years and maybebring the toll down a few dollars. The name Verrazano wouldalways be retained — for example, the Apex Verrazano NarrowsBridge or the Verrazano Narrows Apex Bridge.

My second suggestion is an system whereby economists wouldestimate a mean annual cost for round-trip travel on the VerrazanoBridge, for example, a $1,000-a-year round trip total toll. Themoney could be paid up front for heavy users of the bridge,offering the pre-payers a discounted rate. The city/state wouldcollect up front interest on the pre-payers’ money. Regular rateswould apply to non pre-payers.

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The high Verrazano Bridge tolls are anti-productive like anyhigh tax. As a former Brooklyn resident now living in New Jersey,the tolls cause me to ration my trips into the city. The endresult: lost business and loss of tax revenue for the city of NewYork from visitors from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, etc. — peoplewho would normally attend the theatre, plays, opera, concerts,museums, sporting events and the circus, and shop and dine in thecity. Other frequent users of the Verrazano, like commercialtruckers pass their toll costs on to their customers who in turnpass their increased costs on to the public.

New York City restaurants and other businesses take a big hitand the amount of taxes lost to the city is enormous.

How do high bridge tolls and fares really benefit the city’seconomy? I hope someone will form an exploratory committee toanswer some of these questions. Some outside the box thinking iscalled for.

Joseph P. Martino

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