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Ridge pol demands toll relief for Brooklynites

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The toll is too d--- high!

The famously exorbitant toll for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge rose on March 19, and now fed-up Ridge Councilman Vincent Gentile is calling on the Metropolitan Transit Authority to extend the discount EZ-Pass-using Staten Islanders have enjoyed for the last two years to drivers on the Brooklyn side of the span.

“On our side of the Narrows, students, professionals, and blue collar workers are tired of listening to the same old tune by the [Metropolitan Transit Authority],” said Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) in a video released March 14.

“I am calling on them to play fair once and for all by instituting the same toll discount plan given to Staten Islanders to Brooklynit­es.”

On March 19, the bridge’s cash toll rose from $16 to $17 en route to bucolic Staten Island, while drivers with an EZ-Pass have to fork over $11.52, up from $11.08, while Staten Islanders with the toll-payment gizmo only have to cough up $5.74, up from $5.50.

Gentile penned a letter to the Metropolitan Transit Authority last week demanding the agency extend the Staten Island toll discount to those who live on the Brooklyn side of the bridge. The pol’s plan would also extend the discount program to residents across the borough who traverse the span more than 10 times a month. And more than 1,300 Brooklynites have signed the pol’s online petition backing the plan.

Gov. Cuomo gifted Rock residents the EZ-Pass perk in 2015. But it was never institutionalized in the state budget until Cuomo announced he’d make the break permanent at a State of the State addresses on Jan. 9 — kicking up a wave of criticism from Brooklynites eager for similar treatment.

Now that the toll has spiked with no relief in sight, fed-up Brooklynites are calling on the state to offer them some relief. It’s a no-brainer, said one local.

“That toll is a killer. If Staten Island gets a discount, so should Brooklyn,” said Ridgite Danny Visco, who regularly visits his sister in Staten Island. “Everything is going up — the tolls are going up, MetroCard fares are going up — but you know what isn’t going up? My paycheck.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Posted 12:00 am, March 27, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

MJ from Bay Ridge says:
a better idea is variable pricing of bridge toll such as rush hours and non-rush hours, and weekdays and weekends/holidays.
March 27, 2017, 9:01 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
Excellent suggestion MJ. However, I'm realistically concerned that the MTA willN't support this because they are a governor-controlled, state-run, cash-strapped, public agency, begging for our own money because of the infinite financial mistakes they are making. Also, blame of the city and state elected officials for decades of financial neglect in the first place.
March 27, 2017, 9:44 am
Pedro from Sunset Park says:
They should build more bridges, then there would be fewer drivers and they could lower the tolls.
March 27, 2017, 10:24 am
Tyler from pps says:
Take the bus and quit your whining.
March 27, 2017, 10:41 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Thank Robert Moses for no rail connection, and no bike or pedestrian one either over that massive bridge. Just cars cars cars!
Can we just sell Staten Island to New Jersey already?
March 27, 2017, 11:14 am
BS from Brooklyn says:
No one should get a break.

Everyone should all pay the same.

One could argue that the locals should pay and not the visitors as it's more for the locals than anyone. Or one could argue that the locals contribute enough in taxes and should get a break.

Simply, the rate structure should be by the vehicle, all the same, and the more you use it the more you pay.

Frankly, it's a use tax and you pay for the use.

And Jim, nothing wrong with cars if they're all electric. And I'm with you in selling Staten Island. In fact, let's break up the boroughs from the city and each become their own city or part of the state as they so choose. As for Brooklyn, let's become the City of Brooklyn again and keep our tax money IN Brooklyn. So tired of being second to Manhattan.
March 27, 2017, 1:21 pm
TOM from Sunset Park says:
Sorry Jim the first and last attempt at a passenger-rail tunnel preceded Robert Moses by a decade.

Now they're attempting a freight-rail tunnel from NJ to Brooklyn. It will take trucks off the bridge and give some relief.

Even as we speak they are adding new Goethals bridges with more lanes from NJ to SI. Also new and more on- and off-ramps are going up from Elizabeth to the new Goethals bridges, and at the Brooklyn end of the VNB. The SI Expressway and the Gowanus have been widened already; however, too soon the Brooklyn Heights section of I-278 is to be constrained by re-hab so don't expect true relief anytime in our lifetime.

It's the trucks stupid(not you, Jim--just the planners).
March 27, 2017, 1:49 pm
Tal barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I still think that we should get rid of the tolls altogether especially since the bonds for this bridge were long paid off. Wasn't the original purpose of the tolls? BTW, it was Robert Moses who decided to use tolls during his time as a revenue source like the one on the Triboro (also RFK) Bridge, which is what got most of them to stay and increase despite being long paid off. The truth is that when tolls and even fares are used for other things, they go up much more constantly than needed, and sometimes they are used even less for whatever the intended purpose is. One a side note, I feel that an audit should be done to see where the collection for the tolls are really going to before even thinking about raising them let alone placing any new ones that the Move NY Plan calls for, otherwise it will just be seen as another black hole for revenues.
March 27, 2017, 4:55 pm
Peter from Brooklyn says:
Boo hoo hoo.

Pay up or get a MetroCard.
March 27, 2017, 5:21 pm
RufusLeaking from BH says:
Take the bus and quit your whining Comrades!
March 27, 2017, 8:49 pm
Toonie from Staten Island says:
They should raise the fares for Brooklyn people, and make it free for us! You wanna come here, you gotta pay!
March 28, 2017, 10:19 am
Dave from Brooklyn says:
I've never in my life heard anyone say

"I want to go to Staten Island"

So I think you are good Toonie
March 28, 2017, 10:57 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
I guess the ghost of Robert Moses have possessed my trolling imposter under my name at 10:24 AM, fulfilling his objective legacy. This is not Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Anyway, it is up to the state and the governor to decide if they can give toll relief to Brooklyn, in exchange for votes for next year's election.
March 28, 2017, 4:33 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I hate to break this to some of you anti-car fanatics, but not everyone has the luxury to live near good transit just like you guys do, so they have to drive in order to get around, which is why they feel that a toll hike hurts them a lot.
March 28, 2017, 4:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
There's transit across the Verrazano bridge you idiot.
March 28, 2017, 5:03 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It's obvious that those who support the toll hikes let alone any other tolling plans don't drive on a normal basis hence their total support for them, plus cut the impersonations.
March 29, 2017, 5:48 pm
Simple Solution for Simple People from Brooklyn says:
If you do not like or cannot pay the toll the solution is simple.

Do not drive across the bridge.
March 30, 2017, 9:42 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Try telling this to those that live and work in Staten Island. They will most likely see your point as being out of touch with them. Much of that borough has barely any viable alternatives to getting around without a car. BTW, it's not just the toll on the VNB they hate, they also hate the ones on the Bayonne, Goethals, and Outerbridge Crossing, though those tolls are collected by the PANYNJ, not the MTA. One other thing, they were the biggest opponents to both Bloomberg's Congestion Pricing Plan as well as the Mover NY Plan being that they would be the majority of those paying for either one if passed.
March 30, 2017, 5:44 pm
Simple Solution for Simple People from Brooklyn says:
The free to ride ferry to Staten Island costs New York City tax payers $135 million per year (and growing).

So couldn't care less to hear about what Staten Island "hates"
March 30, 2017, 9:50 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Although the SI Ferry is free, getting to it without a car isn't, so riders there are paying for something.
March 31, 2017, 3:24 pm
Simple Solution for Simple People from Brooklyn says:
The train is free genius.
March 31, 2017, 4:46 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Unfortunately, not everyone in Staten Island lives en route to the SIR, which is only on the right hand side of the borough.
March 31, 2017, 5:07 pm

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