Fare play: Brooklynites demand Gov. Cuomo give them same Verrazano toll discount as Staten Islanders

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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.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John from Bay Ridge says:
Toll all the bridges or shut up about it.
Jan. 17, 2017, 6:01 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
I wish the Brooklyn motorists will have the same permanent toll discount as those motorist in Staten Island. Then again, the governor-controlled, state-run, governmental, bureaucratic MTA is still bleeding for more revenues every single day.
Jan. 17, 2017, 9:58 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
John from Bay Ridge says he doesn't mind being taxed even if he doesn't drive; everything that gets delivered to Brooklyn will pay for that toll.
Jan. 17, 2017, 10 am
Tyler from pps says:
Commuters in either direction should use public transportation, and if you *need* a car then figure that into your budget. No discounts.

As the right-wingers that live there like to say, if you don't like it, move!
Jan. 17, 2017, 10:43 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Tyler says MORE MORE MORE taxes to fill the troughs of the piggies!

MORE MORE MORE to waste!

Get on the bus comrades!
Jan. 17, 2017, 10:50 am
Tyler from pps says:
Yes. That's clearly what I'm saying, Rufus. You are very smart.
Jan. 17, 2017, 10:52 am
Sid from Boreum hill says:
Why don't all nyc residents get discounts on all the triboro bridges? Btw if they do toll all the intracity bridges ny resident registered cars should also get the discount. Also if they build the cross harbor tunnel to Sunnyside yards then trucks no longer need to cross the east river to Brooklyn or queens really needed too.
Jan. 17, 2017, 11:42 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:

*100 readers turn into rabid right wingers after reading his diatribe*

Keep up the good work Tyler, NYC will have another Giuliani as mayor very soon, thanks to your ilk.
Jan. 17, 2017, 1:53 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Rufus Leaking-Nope. What I'm saying is that either all of the Brooklyn bridges get a toll, or SI residents keep their discount. Or get SI a subway like everyone else. Adding Brooklyn to the discount puts the discount for SI residents at risk, which is selfish. SI is the only borough with no way out of a toll.
Jan. 17, 2017, 3:26 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
I love the revisionist history about Giuliani and Bloomberg. Two highly effective Mayors who made significant improvements to the city. Downtown Brooklyn real estate would be worthless without the reductions in crime, and 311 is an amazing government innovation.
I'll take Giuliani over Dinkins/DeBlasio any day of the week.
Jan. 17, 2017, 3:31 pm
Honeycita from Williamsburg says:
First Brooklyn wants it, then Queens wants it, soon New Jersey too! If everyone gets the discount, suddenly they won't be able to afford to keep the bridge, they'll have to tear it down.
Jan. 18, 2017, 9:54 am
Tyler from pps says:
Hmm... .Henry Ford, I own a car and pay bridge tolls. Not sure where you see me saying drivers and cars are evil? Don't think the entitlement issues of Staten Island and Brooklyn folks is my invention.

Why are all of these folks from Brooklyn driving to Staten Island anyway? Commuting? (That's the rationale for SI resident discount)

P.S. Why do I have a sneaking suspicion, Henry, that you car has out-of-state plates and you perpetrate insurance fraud by claiming your car is garaged at a distant relatives house.
Jan. 18, 2017, 10:07 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Sorry Ty, I want insurance that will actually insure me in a worst case scenario. I'd rather not get sued into homelessness.

You have been very consistent in your beliefs that only the very well off should be able to own a car. Yes, drivers here are the worst, and if half of them lost their licenses, I'd be thrilled. But in every scenario where a car owner might catch a financial break, there is ty from pps demanding that drivers suffer. The overall point isn't about you specifically, it's that a group that is constantly attacked, will lash out, and likely vote in a block for someone that speaks to their issues.
Jan. 18, 2017, 11:49 am
Tyler from pps says:
Henry --
It's not about getting financial breaks, it's about inducing demand or modifying behavior through economics.

I have chosen to live in a less dense neighborhood so parking isn't a big deal... Folks in Greenpoint, Bay Ridge and Park Slope whining about no easy access to free storage -- well, boooo hooo.

Tolls on bridges. Yep, the MTA uses the money to pay for the bridges and tunnels themselves, but there's a bunch left over. That subsidizes our public transportation system. What do you think the effect would be if the VZ bridge were free? (Do you think MORE people would try to commute by car or FEWER people would try?)

What about parking meters? Do you think free parking on the commercial strips would be the chances of finding an open spot are INCREASED or DECREASED?

By the way, I'm glad you actually have NY plates and are insured in the city. Imagine all of the available parking if that basic law was enforced?!
Jan. 18, 2017, 4:25 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
How about we just get rid of the tolls altogether? Wasn't their original purpose to pay off the bonds to whatever they were on and then be removed after they were paid off? Making them into revenue sources only made them go up even more than they should, while much of it doesn't even go to where it's supposed to. I know this because I can remember when I have used the Throgs Neck and Whitestone Bridges whenever I was either going to and from my college over at Dowling, a Mets game, anywhere on Long Island, or even to either of the airports, and those bridges have always been in bad shape despite the tolls. As for free bridges, they aren't exactly free, they are being paid for via taxes for infrastructure. In other words, they are being paid for, just not directly. One other thing, politicians will only support placing tolls elsewhere if they will get something out of it otherwise they will be against it. The reason why residents on Staten Island get a discount is mainly due to not having that many alternative ways of getting around when it comes to leaving the island, which is why they get the discount for the VNB, though I still feel that it should be removed with all the other ones especially for being long paid off.
Jan. 18, 2017, 4:49 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
In 2014, the revenue collected in 2014 dollars was just slightly less than the cost to build the bridge in 1965 dollars.
Jan. 18, 2017, 5:26 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Are you two related?
Jan. 18, 2017, 5:34 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Tyler, I have no clue who this Rufus Leaking person is, and he probably doesn't know who I am either, plus agreeing on something doesn't make us related either.
Jan. 19, 2017, 4:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
How about I take a shower, get a job and move out of my parent's basement before I'm 50.
Jan. 19, 2017, 6:57 pm
Moses Kestenbaum ODA from Williamsburg says:
Take off the tolls from all bridges , stop stealing from my pocket every time I drive. I hope Trump does an executive order and abolishes all tolls from roads .
Jan. 24, 2017, 8:13 am
Dave from Brooklyn says:
@Moses Kestenbaum ODA

Yes, because roads and bridges are entirely free and are just come out the rear of magical unicorns!
Jan. 26, 2017, 4:56 pm
Joe Shmo from South Brooklyn says:
This is old but my 2 cents:

After getting laid off from my job in the city and needed work, I found work in Central Jersey and live in South Brooklyn. I'd move away from BK but I have a lease for another year (I live in a part of Brooklyn without the best transit anyway to pay less rent). In order to avoid the ludicrous $11 price gouging toll, I go all the way around to Manhattan and back, adding an extra 30 minutes each way to my commute.

By having tolls so ludicrously high for commuters, you're increasing pollution and congestion in busy city roads, and adding extra inconvenience for legitimate commuters. You can't just tax away cars. Until there's viable transportation throughout the tristate in both directions, there are legitimate reasons to travel by car. Plus, I'd be still using unemployment funds to find work in the city that can now be used by others. Stop this ludicrous and high-and-mighty stance making transport political. Both public and private transit is necessary.
Jan. 23, 2018, 1:57 pm

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