Staten Island residents will get a 60% discount on tolls paid to use the three Port Authority bridges linking Staten Island with New Jersey, as reported by Judy Randall of the Staten Island Advance last Sunday.
Because, you know, Staten Islanders are the only ones who are inconvenienced by bridge tolls.
We’ve complained on several occasions that the 40% discount on the Verrazano Bridge applies only to Staten Island residents, no matter where on that island they live, yet Brooklynites – even Bay Ridgers who live in the shadow of the bridge – must pay full freight.
With the new deal announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Port Authority, Councilman Vincent Gentile has joined the Bay Ridge Odyssey in saying, Seriously, dude?
“My Council District surrounds the Brooklyn end of the Verrazano Bridge and every day my constituents travel across that bridge to and from the College of Staten Island, Wagner College, to see their parents or spouses in nursing homes, or to work or shop,” Gentile said in a written statement. “These residents in the zip-codes surrounding the bridge have to pay between $3.84 to $5.28 more than their Staten Island neighbors every time they use this bridge. At $13 a pop, this is completely unjustifiable not to mention a serious burden on the wallet.”
“For local people who need to cross the Verrazano Bridge on a daily or frequent basis, the same discount on the bridge should apply as the discount given to Staten Islanders. If the Port Authority can work this out for the bridges they operate, so can the MTA!”
Hell, yeah! You tell ‘em!
Look – The $12 and $13 tolls on bridges to go to Staten Island are ridiculous in the first place. I’m a big proponent of bridge tolls to subsidize mass transit. And I’m perfectly fine making it expensive to get to Manhattan, during the rush periods of the communing day, because that’s where the economic activity is happening, and that’s where the mass transit options are.
Staten Island and New Jersey have neither of those things.
(OK, I exaggerate. But actually they don’t.)
The discount for Staten Island residents is fine, but should be extended to Bay Ridge residents, and quite frankly, everyone else, because it is never, ever worth it to pay $12 or $13 to go to Staten Island.
In a letter to MTA Bridge and Tunnels President James Ferrara, Councilman Gentile offered to convene a meeting of New York State legislators and MTA officials to work out a discount plan for Brooklynites.