With MTA toll and fare increases set to go into effect in March, local politicians gathered in front of the Verrazano-Narrow Bridge Friday to renew their calls for a discount plan for commuters who cross the bridge three or more times a month.
Senator Marty Golden, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, and Assemblywoman Malliotakis first proposed the plan a year ago, calling for a 58% discount from the soon-to-be $16 cash price, to be applied to EZ-Pass holders who frequently travel over the bridge. In other words, EZ-Pass holders would see their toll price reduced from roughly $10.50 to $6.30.
The discount is identical to the discount plan currently in place for the Port Authority (PA) bridge connecting Staten Island and New Jersey, giving both precedent for a discount of this nature and statistical data based on the current plan on the PA crossings.
Golden had some strong words for the MTA.
“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,” said Senator Golden. “This proposal is fair, fiscally sound, and has been in use on other crossings in our area.”
Malliotakis echoed the senator’s words.
“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,” she said.
Brook-Krasny also emphasized the fairness of the proposal saying it would “do a great deal to ease the financial burden which has been placed upon the residents of Bay Ridge & Dyker Heights.“
All three elected officials are asking residents across the city to sign a petition to support this plan. They are also urging residents to call their local elected officials, and the MTA, and ask them to sign on.