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Staten Island Civic Groups Plans Rally to Lower Tolls on Bridges

By Nicholas Rizzi | January 17, 2013 6:15pm
 Runners cross the Verrazano Narrows bridge during the NYC marathon on November 6, 2011.
Runners cross the Verrazano Narrows bridge during the NYC marathon on November 6, 2011.
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Chris Trotman/Getty Images

FORT WADSWORTH — A local civic association has said enough is enough about the constantly rising price of tolls on Staten Island bridges.

The South Beach Civic Association is organizing the “Enough is Enough” campaign and rally to ask the MTA and Port Authority to lower the price of tolls on all bridges out of Staten Island.

“We're looking to express our voices and shout out to who's responsible here,” said Joseph McAllister, president of the SBCA. “We want them to see Staten Island can't afford this any longer.”

The group will host a rally at the Verrazano monument, at the entrance to the bridge on Lily Pond Avenue on Jan. 26. McAllister said that while he wishes the tolls could be free, he wants the MTA and Port Authority to set them at flat rate of $3 for Staten Island residents.

“We need to get a fixed price for Staten Islanders,” he said. “We're hoping that if we have enough people united together they can here that.”

In November, the Port Authority passed a hike on their Staten Island bridges, including the Goethals Bridge into New Jersey, that increased cash tolls to $13 from $12 for residents, and $10.25 to $9.50 with an E-ZPass.

For those using the bridge more than three times a month, there is a bridge plan that costs $5.25 with an E-ZPass.

The MTA recently voted to raise tolls on the Verrazano-Narrow Bridge toll for residents to $6.36, from $5.76, with an E-ZPass. For residents without one, the toll will cost $8.52 instead of $7.72. 

The MTA's toll and fare hike will go into effect March 1.

McAllister called the the differing prices for residents with or without an EZ-Pass unacceptable, and said the tolls should be the same rate for all Staten Islanders.

“It's unacceptable to have something like that,” he said. “We want to make it a permanent fixed priced for Staten Island.”

He’s reached out to all local elected officials, who have said they will attend, as well as local community boards and civic groups to spread the word.

The response so far has been great, McAllister said, and he expects over 100 people to turn out, but he’s constantly putting the word out to get more and more people to show up.

“People have been complaining and crying about the tolls for so long, now this is the chance for people to get their butts out,” he said.