Bay Ridge

Pols demand discount on Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll

February 25, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Marty Golden (left), and assembly members Nicole Malliotakis and Alec Brook-Krasny came together on Tuesday to call on the MTA to offer discounts to anyone who drives on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge three or more times a month. Currently, only Staten Island residents receive a discount. Photo courtesy of Golden’s office

Plan calls for 58% reduction for drivers using span 3 times a month

Staten Island residents get a break on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll, so shouldn’t the same courtesy be extended to Brooklyn drivers, or drivers from anywhere, for that matter? That’s the question three Bay Ridge lawmakers are asking.

On Feb. 24, State Sen. Marty. Golden and assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis and Alec Brook-Krasny renewed their call for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to extend a discount program on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to cover any driver who has an EZ-Pass and who uses the Brooklyn-to-Staten Island span three or more times a month.

Under the lawmakers’ plan, drivers who frequently use the bridge would get a 58 percent discount on the toll.

Currently, only Staten Island residents receive a discount.

The three elected officials have issued calls before for the MTA to give a break on the tolls for non-Staten Islanders. But the agency has refused thus far.

To put pressure on the MTA, the lawmakers are asking for the public’s help. They are requesting that residents sign an on-line petition on www.TheTollsAreTooDamnHigh.com.

The non-EZ-Pass toll on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is set to go up to $16 per round trip next month.

“The MTA has once again decided to balance their books on our backs, raising fare and tolls, again; $16 a day to get to work, or school, or visit a loved one, is, quite literally, highway robbery,” Golden said.

Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn) called the discount proposal “fair and fiscally sound” and pointed out that a similar discount program is in place on the Port Authority- operated bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey.

“The time for this type of discount plan was yesterday, so I urge the MTA and my colleagues in government to enact this plan as soon as possible,” Golden said.

“No one should have to pay $16 to travel from one borough to another in the city in which they live. The MTA should follow lead of Port Authority and institute a multi-trip discount on the Verrazano Bridge for residents who use the crossing regularly to work, attend school, or visit friends and family,” Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) said. “We need Brooklyn residents to join us in this fight and help send a clear message to the MTA by signing our petition at www.TheTollsAreTooDamnHigh.com.

“I join Senator Golden and  my colleagues in calling upon the MTA to seriously consider this proposal of enacting what the Port Authority has in effect on its bridges of a reduced fare for three trips in one month over the Verrazano Bridge,” Brook-Krasny (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Coney Island) said. “It’s a fair proposal and will do a great deal to ease the financial burden which has been placed upon the residents of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. I will work with my colleagues to ensure that this proposal is enacted.”

In addition to asking residents to sign the petition, the three lawmakers are also urging residents to call their local elected officials, and the MTA, and ask them to support the proposal.

An MTA spokesman told the Brooklyn Eagle via email on Feb. 25 that the agency had no comment on the bridge discount proposal.

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