With the MTA’s financial picture looking rosier – and with service restoration finally on this year’s budget agenda – local pols, as well as Bay Ridge drivers, are requesting a slice of the proverbial pie.
State Senator Marty Golden put out a press release yesterday calling on MTA officials to consider extending a version of the so-called Staten Island discount on Verrazano Bridge tolls to Brooklyn commuters.
Under Golden’s proposal, enrolled E-Z Pass users with non-commercial plates would pay full price for their first three trips over the Verrazano, and $4.75 for the rest of the month.
Golden’s office included part of a letter sent to MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota in the statement:
The residents of Brooklyn, and in particular southern Brooklyn, realistically have only one way to enter Staten Island and/or parts of New Jersey for employment, visiting relatives, and use of vacation properties. Our families and businesses simply cannot afford to shoulder the burdens forced on them by the tolls at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
A similar plan was recently proposed by the Port Authority, after City Councilman Vincent Gentile criticized the one-sided nature of a strictly Staten Island toll relief program.
The adjusted Port Authority proposal was announced earlier this month by State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, apparently after some behind the scenes work in Albany.
“It is my hope that as the MTA moves in a positive fiscal direction, that part of the savings will be allocated to support this discount plan,” Golden’s letter continued. “On a very regular basis, residents of my district complain about the rising cost of the toll to cross the Verrazano Bridge and see no end in sight to this pattern of increase. This plan makes is practical and Brooklynites, with limited options for their travel needs, deserve it.”