BROOKLYN WEEKLY, APRIL 28, 2019
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Local pols aim to provide Brooklynites with
fare discount for Verrazzano bridge
BUILDING BRIDGES: Local pols want to reduce the fare for Brooklynites who frequently travel the
Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. Photo by Steve Solomonson
BY AIDAN GRAHAM
Brooklynites who frequently cross the Verrazzano
Narrows bridge could soon see
a steep fare discount, if a group of Kings
County pols have their way.
Legislation introduced by State Sen.
Andrew Gounardes (D–Bay Ridge) and Assemblywoman
Mathylde Frontus (D–Coney
Island) would provide Brooklyn residents
using the city’s E-ZPass system who
drive across the bridge at least 10 times
each month the same reduced toll price as
Staten Island residents.
Brooklynites using E-ZPass system
currently fork over $12.24 on each
trip to the island borough, whereas
Staten Island residents are charged a
discounted rate of $5.50.
At an April 16 press conference
announcing the legislation to even
out the fares, Gounardes blasted
the price disparity as excessive and
“For the thousands of Brooklyn residents
who rely on the bridge for travel to
work, school and medical appointments,
these outrageous rates are unaffordable,
unacceptable, and highlight the gross
inequities of New York’s transit system,”
The legislation, which would apply only
to non-commercial vehicles, mimics the
MTA’s decision earlier this month to eliminate
the $2.29 E-ZPass toll on the Cross Bay
Bridge for all Queens Residents.
Frontus criticized the MTA for constantly
increasing fares for traveling
New Yorkers, including on the Verrazzano,
where fares have more than
doubled since 2008.
“It’s time for the MTA to stop passing
the buck,” she said. “The line has to be
drawn somewhere when you see consistent
increases in fares without corresponding
tangible benefi ts being produced to match
Freshman U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D–Bay
Ridge), who represents both sides of the
Verrazzano, encouraged the effort, arguing
that Southern Brooklyn and Staten Island’s
interlinked communities should not
be separated by excessive fi nes.
“It is about time that we recognize that
Staten Island and Brooklyn are one community,
and rising tolls are becoming a
barrier between families on both sides
of the bridge,” he said. “I applaud Sen.
Gounardes’ efforts to give Brooklynites
a break, and make it easier for them to
reach their jobs or visit their families on
City Councilman Justin Brannan
(D–Bay Ridge) lent his support to
the state legislators’ effort, arguing
for equality in fares for residents on
either side of the Verrazzano.
“Nobody is saying Staten Island
shouldn’t get a discount, but what about
Brooklyn?” he said. “It’s about time we are
part of the conversation since, last time I
checked, the bridge has two sides.”
The legislation, Senate Bill S4490 ,
is currently awaiting a vote by the
Senate’s Transportation Committee.