MTA Approves Verrazano Toll Discounts

By Nicholas Rizzi on February 27, 2014 12:09pm 

 The MTA approved Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to reduce the tolls to $5.50 for Staten Island residents crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
The MTA approved Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to reduce the tolls to $5.50 for Staten Island residents crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
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Flickr/S. Nirza

STATEN ISLAND — A toll relief plan that would slash the cost of crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for Staten Island residents has been approved by the MTA, despite protests from some board members.

The plan will cut the fare paid by residents with an E-ZPass from $6.36 to $5.50 and give a 20 percent discount for trucks who cross the bridge more than 10 times a month.

The plan was approved by the MTA board on Wednesday, but not without reservations from some board members and the former transit chief Richard Ravitch, NY1 reported.

Ravitch asked why the MTA would let $7 million in revenue go away, and said the plan defies "common sense," NY1 reported.

"I feel strongly enough about this, remembering all the battles that I fought to eke out every possible penny of revenue for this authority," Ravitch said, according to NY1.

Others on the board wondered why Brooklyn residents also didn't get the break, and pointed out that Staten Islanders already ride the ferry and Staten Island Railway, except for two stops, for free.

The bridge currently costs $15 cash and $10.66 with an E-ZPass for non-Staten Island residents. Those who live on the island pay $6.36 with an E-ZPass and $8.52 without one to cross the bridge.

Announcing the reduction plan in February, Cuomo called the bridge the "main artery" for the borough and said residents deserved the break.

"When you toll that bridge, you toll the main artery and the main line of communication, and that's why you deserve the special attention," he said.

The reduction will go into effect in April.

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