Common Sense: Week of September 27


Last week I discussed the negative effect Port Authority commercial tolls have on the cost of goods moving in and out of Brooklyn. In fact, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis sued the Port Authority to require it to release an economic study concerning the impact. And it showed that the cost of shipping goods on a truck that crossed a Staten Island Port Authority Bridge from New Jersey was as much as $50 more per truck vs. a truck moving goods within New Jersey. This clearly gives a New Jersey business a competitive advantage brought to you by the Port Authority.

Now the MTA which operates the Verrazano Narrows Bridge is very seriously considering increases in both its commercial and non-commercial tolls upwards of 15 percent on what are already some of the highest tolls in the nation.

Assuming that most commercial and non-commercial traffic from Brooklyn to New Jersey is round-trip, the new tolls anticipated for 2013 are sure to be job killers in Brooklyn, either putting companies out of business or sending them to New Jersey.

And with all due respect to New Jersey, many of the young entrepreneurs making up the hip fabric of modern Brooklyn are not interested in moving their operations there.

The more tradition longshoreman operations are equally unhappy in seeing hundreds of good blue collar jobs move to New Jersey because the trucking cost of moving a container off a docked ship in Brooklyn is considerable more than a container unloaded to a truck in New Jersey. Brooklyn has seen its share of abandoned docks; we certainly do not need to see a new crop courtesy of two public authorities tasked with the mission of providing a transportation network.

Workers will find their commute costs go from the extreme to the near impossible. And how about the shoppers who will see options evaporate as tolls reach into the stratosphere. The only thing more outrageous than the planned Port Authority increase and the publicized MTA increase is the lack of appreciation these authorities have for their customers. They simply do not get it.

Three elected officials who do get it are State Senator Marty Golden, whom I serve as chief of staff; Congressmember Michael Grimm and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis. The Conservative-Republican elected officials were out of the gate on Friday and Saturday mornings only a few hours after the MTA proposal came to light, making it clear that they would do everything in their power to roll it back.

They will fight with data and facts that show the destructive nature of the increases. They have on their side business leaders, manufacturers, the trucking industry, the many elements of Brooklyn’s marine industry and I suspect anyone who has are plans to cross the Verrazano Bridge or any Staten Island Port Authority Bridge like the Goethals.

State Senator Golden and Assemblymember Malliotakis are coming off a successful battle to restore bus service and are very comfortable taking on government agencies that are out of control like these two are when it comes to tolls. Congressmember Grimm has kept the pressure on public authorities with a variety of federal legislation designed to keep them accountable.


Sometimes even big time political operations mess things up. Take the sad story of the New York State Independence Party that failed to nominate someone for president because it called the meeting a week too late. Yes, you read it right.

The party had on its agenda for a meeting held on Saturday, September 15, the selection of electors for president, which is how state political parties place presidential candidates on the ballot. The deadline set by state law was Monday, September 10. Thus the New York State Independence party will have no candidate for president on the top of its ticket.

I doubt it is the only political organization that made an embarrassing error this season, but certainly it has to be one of the more glaring examples.

Jerry Kassar is the chairperson of the Kings County Conservative Party. He is a longtime community activist who has served as an officer or member of many organizations. He works for the state of New York.

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