Brooklyn Boro

Finally! Two-way tolls coming to Verrazzano

Drivers used one-way toll, clogged up Gowanus, BQE

November 9, 2020 Editorial Staff
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In a move that Brooklyn residents and officials have advocated for years, the MTA on Monday announced that two-way tolls on the Verrazzano Bridge will take effect at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1, in accordance with federal law and approval by the MTA board.

The one-way tolling was federally mandated and in effect for three decades. In particular, Brooklynites objected because eastbound cars, and especially trucks, took advantage of the fact that there wasn’t a toll in that direction to take the Verrazzano rather than the two Hudson River tunnels or the George Washington Bridge before heading east or north.

The result was severe traffic congestion on the Gowanus Expressway and the BQE in Brooklyn — congestion that also spilled into Lower Manhattan.

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Indeed, the number of motorists cutting through Staten Island and into Brooklyn was estimated at 7,000 per weekday pre-pandemic, according to the MTA.

As a result of the change, tolls will be collected in both the Staten Island- and Brooklyn-bound directions, with the toll charged to motorists entering Staten Island and Brooklyn cut in half to $2.75 for Staten Island residents, $1.70 for Staten Island carpool customers, $6.12 for E-ZPass users, and $9.50 for Tolls by Mail users. The overall toll for a round trip and the Staten Island resident discount remain unchanged.

“The restoration of split tolling will end a 30-year loophole in New York City that will help alleviate congestion on Staten Island while improving the environment,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye. “I thank Reps. Max Rose, Jerry Nadler and Nydia Velazquez, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and the entire New York Congressional delegation for making this reform a reality.”

U.S. Rep. Max Rose, who represents a Brooklyn-Staten Island district, said: “I promised to do everything I can to end my constituents’ commuting nightmare and with split tolling we’ll see fewer out of state cars and trucks clogging up our expressway at no cost to residents.”

“The restoration of split-tolling will greatly improve traffic and congestion in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, while also capturing much needed new funding for the MTA from out-of-state trucks, which no longer will avoid a toll entering New York City via Staten Island or dodge tolls on the Hudson River Bridge and tunnel crossings,” said U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan-Brooklyn).

The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is among the busiest bridges in the country, logging more than 215,000 vehicular crossings on weekdays prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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  1. Ursula Hahn

    As a former member of the CB2 transportation committee and early advocate of returning to two-way toll collection, I’m happy that it’s finally coming to pass. A hearty thank-you to all elected officials who fought for the change; all Brooklyn residents who live adjacent to the BQE and Gowanus Expressway can finally breathe somewhat easier.