Verrazzano Bridge to Start Charging Tolls for Drivers Heading Both East and West on Dec. 1

Verrazzano Bridge to Start Charging Tolls for Drivers Heading Both East and West on Dec. 1

By Yehudit Garmaise

     The reason for the imbalance of 7,000 drivers traveling on the bridge that connects Brooklyn and Staten Island, is that the bridge’s current system only charges westbound drivers $19 in tolls, the most expensive toll in the country and one that only applies to drivers who enter Staten Island through Brooklyn, while Brooklyn-bound motorists cross the bridge without charge.

   While 112,000 drivers travel eastbound the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge daily, only 105,000 drivers travel westbound, as they are the ones who are charged $19 per trip.

   Although in March, the Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) approved a plan to split the tolls so that drivers travelling both east and west would pay $6.12, the new “split-tolling” system will go into effect on Dec. 1.

   The new “split-tolling” system is expected to reduce the number of drivers who cut through Staten Island to avoid paying the $19 toll and take advantage of driving eastbound without charge.

   The MTA has said that the tolls will be collected in the directions that are bound both for Staten Island and Brooklyn. The tolls charged to motorists who are entering Staten Island and Brooklyn will be cut in half to $2.75 for Staten Island residents, $1.70 for Staten Island Carpoolers, &6.12 for EZ Pass users, and $9.50 for Tolls by Mail.

  The overall toll for a round trip and the Staten Island resident discount will remain unchanged.

   Before the work of Reps Max Rose (D), Jerry Nadler (D), and Nydia Valazquez (D), and Senators Chuck Schumer (D) and Kristin Gillibrand (D) joined together to reform the previous one-way toll of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, which had been the only bridge in the country with federally mandated one direction tolling for more than 30 years.

   “I promised to do everything I can to end my constituents’ commuting nightmare,” Rose said. “and with split-tolling, we’ll see fewer out-of-state cars and trucks clogging up our expressway at no cost. I’m proud to have worked with leaders from both parties and all levels of government to make this a reality and look forward to seeing the positive impact for our community.”

Photo by: Yossi Goldberger

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