Toll speeds up commute?

A plan by Rep. Jerry Nadler to change the $9, one-way Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll into a $4.50 each-way tariff would increase congestion or speed up the commute — depending on who is behind the wheel.

“The one-way toll has, ironically, increased congestion on the Staten Island Expressway,” said a statement released by the Gowanus Community Stakeholder Group, a group that advocates smoother transportation in and through Brooklyn.

Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann agreed that an extra toll could help speed things along.

“The idea is that less truck traffic would be moving from Staten Island into Brooklyn,” Beckmann said.

Currently, cars pay $9 to cross the bridge from Bay Ridge into Staten Island, and nothing to return.

Nadler’s goal is to snatch some toll money from the free-riders who cross the Verrazano into Brooklyn, and then drive into Manhattan and enter back into New Jersey via the Holland Tunnel, which is free in the westbound direction.

Community board 10 will soon meet to discuss the effects the toll, Beckmann.

Nadler (D–Coney Island) made similar two-way toll proposals in 1999, 2001 and 2003 and each time faced defeat. Not everyone is sold on the extra toll.

“If I am going to support this, I would like to first see a comprehensive plan about how the new toll would effect the redistribute of traffic throughout the borough,” said state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge).

And at least one resident shared Golden’s concern.

“It just means another wait,” said Bay Ridge resident Mark Lillmars, a military recruiter who crosses the Verrazano to work in Staten Island. “Just one more line for me to sit and wait through as the government trolls take my money.”

If local officials determine that the delay caused by the two-way toll is offset by a decrease in truck traffic, Nadler’s double vision may finally become a reality.

But what it means is still remains a mystery.

“Is this a good thing for Bay Ridge?” asked Golden. “The jury is still out.”