With Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposing to give Staten Islanders additional toll relief on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, officials in Westchester and Rockland counties are pushing for similar benefits for their residents, The Journal News/lohud.com reports today.
The state Thruway Authority is expected to significantly increase tolls for the new Tappan Zee Bridge, a $3.9 billion twin span, but it hasn’t indicated when they might be raised or by how much.
“Residents of Staten Island are getting a break,” said Rockland County Legislator Cris Carey, R-Bardonia. “I think the same strategies and factors could be applied for Rockland folks.”
Carey crafted a county resolution that calls on the governor and state lawmakers to reduce toll rates for Rockland commuters.
Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, D-Mt. Pleasant, is of the same mind.
“You can’t treat people in one area one way and treat people in another area another way — you have to treat all New Yorkers fairly,” he said.
The cash toll on the Tappan Zee is $5, and drivers with E-ZPass plus a commuter plan pay $3. The last time the toll was increased was in 2009.
Staten Islanders with a New York-issued E-Z Pass pay $6.36 per toll for one or two trips in a mo0nth and $6 per trip for more than that. The cash toll is $15, and $10.66 for drivers with E-ZPass. Cuomo is proposing reducing the charge for residents to $5.50 per trip, regardless of how often them cross it. He also wants to give additional toll breaks to commercial vehicles.
Veronica Vanterpool, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, called the Verrazano toll plan a “bad precedent” and a ploy to gain votes in an election year. The money could be better spent on improving mass transit, she said.
“You’re just inviting more people to bring their car on their road, and you’re just adding to congestion,” she said.