Local dignitaries protest Verrazano Bridge’s 50th anniversary celebration, citing pending fare hikes

November 20, 2014 Jaime DeJesus
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Heck no, they won’t go.

Just one day before the MTA was to host its 50th Anniversary Celebration of Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at The Overlook at Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island, key local dignitaries announced that they would not be attending the event to protest of high fares and toll hikes. Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, Councilmember Vincent Gentile and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams each released statements regarding their disappointment in the ongoing hikes.

“I am joining my colleagues in Staten Island in a boycott of the celebration of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge’s 50th anniversary,” said Adams. “This bridge physically unites our two boroughs, and it has again united its elected representatives in response to the exorbitant tolls that Brooklynites and Staten Islanders pay to cross this span, at a time when the MTA is considering what would be the fourth fare and toll hike on commuters in seven years.”

Gentile echoed the borough president’s sentiments. “With the toll structure on the Verrazano getting worse and worse by being priced beyond people’s budgets, crossing this iconic structure has become a financial burden to many,” he said.

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The councilmember also believes that Brooklyn has been ignored during the celebrations. “The MTA completely ignored Bay Ridge in this historic half-century celebration of a bridge we share with Staten Island,” he said. “I found that to be ill-advised and unacceptable, especially in light of the fact that we were denied a celebratory procession across the bridge as was done for the 25th anniversary. It’s important to remember that a bridge has two sides.”

“We are consistently forced to fight ludicrous toll and fare hikes year after year with the MTA’s 50th anniversary gift to the community being another four percent hike across the region, further burdening commuters and small businesses,” added Malliotakis. “No one in this city, regardless of residency, should have to pay a $16 toll to cross a bridge.”

“There is nothing to celebrate until our city’s commuters can finally receive the Verrazano toll relief that they deserve,” said Adams.


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