Editorial: Asking for equity

With the kickoff of a petition campaign to get the MTA to offer toll discounts to Brooklyn drivers and other city residents who use the Verrazano Narrows Bridge at least three times a month, the time has come for the residents of the other four boroughs to make their voices heard.

The timing of the petition is no accident. It was created in response to the announcement earlier this year that Staten Island residents – who already pay substantially less than other city residents to use the bridge – will get an added discount, thanks to a recent agreement brokered by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Right now, Brooklyn residents who use the bridge pay $15 roundtrip ($10.66 with E-ZPass), while residents of Staten Island now pay $6, and will pay just $5.50 when the added discount takes effect.

The disparity is glaring, and it just isn’t right. We understand that Staten Islanders have no other vehicular access to the rest of the city besides the Verrazano, but many residents of Brooklyn – and southwest Brooklyn in particular – go to Staten Island and New Jersey regularly, and those double-digit tolls add up quickly.

The Port Authority gets it; for the past two years, it has offered a 58 percent discount to drivers who utilize crossings between Staten Island and New Jersey at least three times a month.

It’s time for the MTA to follow suit, and for New York State to do whatever it takes to make that happen. The cost of offering a discount to drivers who use the Verrazano three or more times a month is $30 million, not insubstantial but in reality a small percentage of the state’s $142 billion budget.

The petition can be found on line at Thetollsaretoodamnhigh.com.


With the groundbreaking for the new Thunderbolt roller coaster, Coney Island has taken another step into its own energized future.

The 21st century thrill ride, which should be completed by May, salutes the area’s storied past as it builds on the excitement and growth that have characterized the amusement area over the past several years.

The continued progress is great news for Coney, for Brooklyn and for the city as a whole, particularly coming in the wake of the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy, which in areas like Coney Island is still a factor.

We hope it is a harbinger of more good things to come.

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