Is it a bridge too far?
Gov. Cuomo announced that the state will make permanent the reduced Verrazano-Narrows Bridge tolls that EZ-Pass-using Staten Island residents have been enjoying for the last two years. And now drivers on the Brooklyn side of the span are demanding similar treatment.
“That’s not fair. I have clients in Staten Island, and to keep my business going, I have to travel all over,” said Bay Ridgite Linda Carro, who runs a freelance pet-grooming service. “If Staten Island is going to get a break, then so should we. That bridge is important for all of us.”
The bridge’s cash toll is $16 en route to Richmond County (entrance to Brooklyn is free, as it ought to be). Drivers with an EZ-Pass only have to fork over $11.08, and Staten Islanders with the electronic toll-payment gizmo only have to cough up $5.50.
Rock residents have long enjoyed discounted crossing, but the governor threw the Forgotten Borough the EZ-Pass perk in 2015. Except it was never memorialized in the budget, until Cuomo announced he’d do so at one of his recent State of the State addresses on Jan. 9.
He has since been mum on details, and his office did not return requests for comment.
The bridge serves as Staten Islander drivers’ sole connection to the borough of Kings, but that street goes both ways, said one Rock resident who is running for Council in Bay Ridge.
“Brooklynites deserve the same consideration that people on the other side of the bridge currently receive in the form of a resident discount,” said Bob Capano, a republican hoping to replace term-limited Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) next year. If a permanent toll discount is good enough for Staten Island, it is good enough for us in Brooklyn.”