Verrazano resolution to make its way through City Council

City Councilmember Vincent Gentile and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams are poised to introduce into the City Council a resolution calling on the MTA “to consider the impact of the current pricing scheme on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on both the residents of Brooklyn and Staten Island.”

The resolution – whose introduction is scheduled to take place the week of March 10 — was spurred by the announcement, last month, that additional discounts would be extended to Staten Islanders who cross the bridge, because, according to the MTA, “Staten Island residents are uniquely disadvantaged by the MTA district’s transportation network charges in that the VNB is their sole means of vehicular access to the rest of New York City.”

“It is crucial that any decision regarding the pricing of bridges and tunnels include an impact analysis for residents on both sides of the bridge, including the residents of Brooklyn,” the resolution contends.

“We are not debating whether or not Staten Islanders deserve toll discounts – the fact is they do,” noted Gentile. “The issue is the burden Brooklynites face in getting onto Staten Island. Ever since the Verrazano Bridge was built, Brooklyn and Staten Island have been connected by much more than a bridge. But that relationship will likely end if our side of the tolls rise to $20 in the next few years.

“So when we say we want a fair toll in Brooklyn, we’re talking about visiting our families, going to our schools, getting to work, seeing our grandparents and paying respects at the graves of our dead,” Gentile went on. “We’re not asking that Staten Island’s discount be taken away or reduced; what we are asking for is some relief on the other side of the bridge so that the particular toll burdens on the Brooklyn-into-Staten Island trip are also recognized and so we can keep up the relationship we’ve built with Staten Island.”

Adams concurred, joining Gentile to issue a joint statement that said, in part, We cannot stand for the unfair penalizing of Brooklynites that work, go to school or have family members on Staten Island, Brooklynites that use this bridge every day. Both boroughs, as well as the elected officials who represent them, need to stand in unity on this issue. That is why we will be proud to be among the first to sign the new petition calling for toll relief for Brooklynites, and that is why we look forward to furthering our efforts to achieve a truly ‘fair fare’ on this thoroughfare.”

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