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Staten Island BP Urges Locals Not to Blame Lhota for Verrazano Toll Hikes

By Nicholas Rizzi | September 20, 2013 5:39pm
 Molinaro cited Lhota's work during the Guiliani administration as reasons for his endorsements.
James Molinaro Endorses Joe Lhota for Mayor
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ST. GEORGE — Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro threw his support behind Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota on Friday, saying the increased Verrazano-Narrows Bridge tolls under Lhota's tenure at the MTA shouldn't be a deal breaker.

Even though Lhota was at the helm of the MTA when the Staten-Island bound one way toll jumped from $13 to $15 in March, Molinaro said that shouldn't be an issue for Staten Island voters in November.

"Let's take it off of the table," Molinaro said at Friday's announcement on the steps of the Staten Island Borough Hall, saying the increase was negligible, especially for those who use EZ-Pass, "There's been a bigger increase in the slice of bread in the last year and a half."

Molinaro said the MTA have treated Staten Islanders very well, and the blame should be placed on the Port Authority for raising the bridge tolls to go into New Jersey.

Molinaro cited Lhota's experience as the former finance chairman for then-mayor Rudy Giuliani, and his work for getting the city out of debt, as his main reasons for the endorsement.

"That's the man with the experience," Molinaro said. "Not only am I endorsing him, but we are fortunate that he's willing to put himself on the line to be our mayor."

Molinaro praised Lhota for helping getting Bloomingdale Park and the Richmond County Ball Park opened in the borough and said he was the best candidate for Staten Island.

Lhota said he was proud of the endorsement, and would continue to work to make Staten Island better.

"I can not tell you how proud I am, how honored I am to get this support and the endorsement," Lhota said.

"There are so many things that I have done for Staten Island, and I will continue to to do that while I'm mayor," he said.

With recent polls showing Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio with a commanding lead in the race, Lhota said people shouldn't pay too much attention to them.

"People shouldn't give a whole lot of credibility to polls that happen a week after a primary," he said. "Polls this early in the race are not significant."