SOUTH BEACH — A toll relief plan for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge would slash the cost of crossing to $5.50 for Staten Island residents.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday he wants to lower the price. His proposal now needs to be approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
"It is the main artery to Staten Island," Cuomo said. "And 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."
Previously, Staten Island residents who used the bridge once or twice a month using E-ZPass paid $6.36, and those who crossed more often paid $6.00.
The plan will also lower the price for trucks to cross the bridge. Business owners previously complained the cost made it too expensive to operate in the borough.
"We want the jobs, we want the businesses, we want the economy to work," Cuomo said.
Trucks that make more than 10 trips per month will qualify for a 20-percent discount, with the fare price dependent on the number of axles they have. For a truck with two axles, the toll will be discounted from $19.24 to $15.43.
Currently, the bridge costs $15 cash and $10.66 with an E-ZPass for non-Staten Island residents. For those who live on the island, the tolls are currently $6.36 with an E-ZPass and $8.52 without one.
The funding for the toll relief would come half from the state and half from the MTA. Each would kick in $7 million for the discount.
The plan still needs to be approved by the MTA, which will consider it at a meeting on Feb. 26. If given the go-ahead, the discount will need an environmental review and the E-ZPass system will need to be reprogrammed.
Officials in the governor's office said they anticipate the discounted tolls would be in effect by April 1.