Verrazano Bridge Toll Hike Proposal Has Local Pols And Residents Fuming

Image courtesy of Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Senator Martin Golden

The MTA is considering a proposal to increase the tolls on New York City’s major bridges and tunnels. This means that the cash tolls for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge would go from $13 to $15.

Electronic tolls may be bumped up as well, according to the New York Daily News.

The MTA board will vote on a final budget in December, with raised tolls possibly going into effect by March of 2013.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Senator Martin Golden, along with Congressman Michael Grimm, have come forward to denounce the hikes.

Grimm sent a letter to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in which he writes:

Why is the answer always to raise tolls? Every family and business in NYC has had to learn to live within a budget, so why can’t the MTA?  We are sick and tired of NYC’s debt-stricken agencies – whether it being the PA or the MTA – running immediately to the taxpayers for a bailout.  There has to be another solution that doesn’t involve shifting the burden to the taxpayer. I suggest the MTA a serious look at its finances, cut out the waste, and find a creative way to maintain the current level of services without raising fares or the tolls on the Verrazano Bridge.

While Malliotakis and Golden hosted a recent press conference at the Brooklyn entrance of the Verrazano Bridge.

Malliotakis stated that a toll hike would have a devastating impact on local business. She presented a report obtained from Port Authority that backs up her claims.

She said:

The MTA has treated our community as a piggy bank at the expense of our economy for years, and its toll hike plan for bridges and tunnels is yet another example of its indifference to local commuters and job creators,” said Malliotakis. “If you want to know what will happen as a result of further MTA toll hikes, look no further than the NYCT, where businesses have been crippled by the Port Authority’s cash-grabs. By raising bridge and tunnel tolls, the MTA is exporting jobs to neighboring states and unfairly burdening local toll payers. We will not stand idly by as another mismanaged transportation agency attempts to balance its budget on the backs of local businesses and commuters.

Golden agrees and is also concerned with the economic issues associated with raising tolls on major bridges. He states:

Our community relies on the surrounding bridges not only for transportation, but as cornerstones of commerce and job creation. Raising tolls on these structures is bad for businesses, bad for commuters and bad for our economy. In these difficult economic times, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is wrongfully again looking to dig deeper into the pockets of motorists who travel across the five boroughs of our City. Raising tolls on these structures is bad for businesses, bad for commuters and bad for our economy.

According to reports, inbound trucks to New York pay 544 percent in tolls more than trucks using New Jersey’s terminals. This “increases the cost of everything transported into New York, with absolutely no justification or benefit to New Yorkers,” said Kendra Adams, President of the New York State Motor Truck Association.

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