Gov. Cuomo Announces Toll-Relief Plan for Staten Island

By Catherine Yang, Epoch Times
February 7, 2014 Updated: February 7, 2014

Staten Island residents could have their daily commute toll lowered to $5.50 if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority accepts Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal.

“Staten Islanders have grown beyond weary watching tolls continue to rise,” Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said. So much so, that the lower toll “might take a while to fully grasp.”

Cuomo announced on Feb. 6 funding that would allow lower tolls on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn. Drivers using an E-ZPass would pay $5.50 per crossing. The trip is currently $6.36 per trip for a Staten Island resident.

Officials see lowering the toll as a way to boost economic activity.

“The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a lifeline for Staten Island—for its residents, for its neighbors, for its businesses and for its economy,” Cuomo said. “This toll relief will allow Staten Islanders to keep more of their money on the island and will make a real difference for companies that rely on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to keep their business thriving.”

The toll relief would be funded by $7 million from the state and $7 million from the MTA.

The proposal would have to be approved by the MTA Board on Feb. 26. If approved, the new toll would go into effect as early as April. The proposal would first have to go through an environmental review and E-ZPass system reprogramming, which would take three to five months.

Discounts will also be given to commercial vehicles by 20 percent a month if they make more than 10 trips over the bridge monthly.

After funding for the toll relief expires, Staten Island residents and commercial vehicles would return to paying the stated tolls.