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Easy rider: Bill to lower Verrazzano Bridge toll for some Brooklyn drivers sails through state Senate

It’s only fare: Legislation to reduce the fare for Brooklynites who frequently cross the Verrazzano-Narrows bridge has passed the State Senate. The measure now awaits a vote in the State Assembly.
Brooklyn Paper
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Going to Staten Island may soon become slightly less painful.

The state Senate passed a bill that would reduce the toll on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge by more than half for Kings County drivers who frequently cross the span into Richmond County.

Sponsored by Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D–Bay Ridge), the Senate bill passed the upper chamber by a decisive 55–2 margin on May 30.

The measure offers Brooklyn drivers who cross the span 10 times per month using E-ZPass a discounted toll of $5.50, matching the reduced fare that Staten Island residents already enjoy when crossing the two-and-a-half-mile-long, double-decker bridge.

Kings County drivers passing into Staten Island currently pay $12.24 for the Verrazzano’s one-way toll when using E-ZPass, and a whopping $19 when relying on the city’s cashless toll technology.

The bill’s passage follows an MTA toll hike that jacked the Verrazzano’s toll up to the second highest in the country in March, making it second in price only to Virginia’s 23-miles-long Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which costs an astronomical $36 round trip at peak hours.

All eyes now turn to Albany’s lower house, where the bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus (D–Coney Island) continues to languish committee, although the lawmaker’s chief of staff expressed confidence that the measure will pass and become law in the wake of the Thursday’s senate vote.

“We’re optimistic,” said Michael Decillis. “It sailed through the Senate, so that’s a good sign.”

The proposal mirrors the city’s decision to eliminate the $2.29 E-ZPass toll on the Cross Bay Bridge for all Queens Residents last April.

At a press event announcing his scheme to slash the toll for Brooklyn drivers in April, Gounardes blasted the Verrazzano’s exorbitant tax, which has more than doubled since 2008.

“For the thousands of Brooklyn residents who rely on the bridge for travel to work, school and medical appointments, these outrageous rates are unaffordable, unacceptable, and highlight the gross inequities of New York’s transit system,” he said.

Freshman federal Rep. Max Rose, who represents both sides of the bridge, applauded the state Senate on Twitter for passing the bill to even the fares between his constituents.

“This is incredible news,” he said. “We are one community, with family and friends, jobs and appointments on both sides of the Verrazzano. This is a huge step towards providing much needed relief to so many Brooklynit­es.”

Should the Assembly approve their version of the legislation, it would go to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at twitter.com/aidangraham95.
Posted 12:00 am, May 31, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
Nothing but good news indeed. Always care about your constituents against the total bureaucracy of the MTA.
May 31, 11:29 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Politicians looking out for working people for once. Good job.
May 31, 11:38 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
We will vote them out soon enough.
May 31, 12:47 pm
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge So, you're going to vote them out? That's because you actually think we have free and open elections in the city. I've been voting in the city for 50 years and I see a definite clear pattern that tells me we have a small group of people who determine who is going to run and who they will put up against him to ensure that persons victory. And of course the people they choose to put in office are people who are "sensitive" to their goals. Like billionaire contractors who are reducing the quality of life in the city for their own financial gain.
May 31, 3:10 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Well all the trashy bigots voted for drumpf, so there’s that to think about. Brooklyn is filled with racist trash.
May 31, 3:30 pm
Local from Here says:
Glad you feel that way fake Henry, feel free to leave today.
May 31, 3:31 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I’m here and queer, and here to stay! Deal with it, bigot!
May 31, 3:38 pm
Frank from Furter says:
I always thought that all city residents with cars registered in ny should get the same discount-staten island or breezy point. Private car only. And one no charge red light or speed camera too.
June 1, 6:48 am
Wait what says:
Why are we voting them out soon enough?
June 1, 9:19 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I still think a better solution would be to just get rid of the tolls altogether especially if the bonds are already paid off, and that should be the case for all tolled crossings.
June 1, 3:08 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
The bonds are never paid off. When they come due, they are issued again. It's a trick they learned from Robert Moses.
June 2, 6:39 am
Tooney from Staten Island says:
This bridge should be free! Why we gotta pay?! It’s OUR bridge! The other bridges are FREE!! And those people have the SUBWAY!! They don’t NEED it!!!
June 2, 8:06 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
Why would anyone want to go to Staten Island.
June 2, 5:58 pm
t from bath beach says:
why not have parity with Staten Island and not have to cross 10 times? A half baked idea but better then nothing. Election is over so lets see if Cuomo goes for this ( if the we dont do anything for middle class car owners Assembly even passes it. )
June 3, 5:17 pm
sonny from brooklyn from bath beach bensonhurst says:
people, get a life.....! nothing to do? go volunteer, help someone in need... at a food pantry, a shelter, kids after school programs, or collect bottles and donate funds to your favorite charity. be humane.. nuff said!
June 4, 6:34 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Part of the reason why most of Staten Island opposes congestion pricing is mainly because they have the pay a toll just to leave their island, which they see is already a form of that.
June 4, 1:48 pm

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