Editorial: A bridge too far

February 14, 2014 Editorial Staff
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Staten Islanders were the lucky recipients of a gift from Albany on Thursday, February 6, with the announcement that they would be eligible for even more greatly reduced tolls on the Verrazano Bridge.

Given their reliance on the bridge as a way in to the remainder of the city, that is great news for them, but, frankly, the announcement had residents on the other side of the bridge – Brooklynites in general, and Ridgeites in particular – wondering why none of the largesse is being showered in their direction.

After all, as City Councilmember Vincent Gentile pointed out, the bridge has two sides, and people on this side also utilize the Verrazano in large numbers. That they should have to pay $15 for a round trip toll (or just under $11, if they use E-ZPass), while Staten Islanders pay $5.50 with their E-ZPasses strikes us as patently unfair.

And, the difference adds up, meaning that Brooklynites who make frequent trips on the Verrazano have to dig way deeper into their pockets compared to Staten Islanders.

That just isn’t right.

Brooklynites, like Staten Islanders, are residents of New York City. They should, by virtue of that alone, be eligible for the same discounts as their peers on the other side of the Narrows.

For this reason, we applaud the efforts being made by Brooklyn elected officials on both sides of the aisle to get the inequity corrected.

On the Republican side, State Senator Marty Golden is pushing a plan that would trigger the same discount – 58 percent — for all New York residents once they utilize the bridge three times in a given month. That would bring the toll down to $6.30 for every state resident who qualifies.

Simultaneously, Gentile and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams are introducing legislation that would require that bridge and tunnel tolls be equitable for all city residents.

We applaud these efforts, and urge Governor Cuomo to rethink a plan that pleases some New York City residents while leaving others asking, “Why not us?”

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