Steve Margarella has owned Margarella Asphalt and Concrete for 25 years. The Staten Island paving company has outlasted economic downturns, Hurricane Sandy, and Margarella's own health problems.
But he says he doubts his multi-million dollar business can survive what's coming next: Congestion pricing.
"It's going to cost me more money to go to work," he said. "It's going to cost anybody that works in Manhattan more money to go to work."
Drivers entering Manhattan south of 61st Street will face a new charge in order to raise billions of dollars to repair the transit system and reduce traffic. A six-member board will decide what the charge should be and who should be exempted.
But Margarella already is opposed. "Why not try things that don't further penalize the middle-class and the working stiff in New York City?" he asks.
Margarella Asphalt and Concrete does 60 percent of its work outside of Staten Island, including in Manhattan. Margarella says the business already spends $5,000 to $10,000 a month on E-ZPass bills for crossing the Verrazzano Bridge.
There is talk of giving drivers who use the bridge a discount on congestion pricing so they are not charged twice. But Margarella says even the proposed credit wouldn't be enough to blunt the pain of the new charges, given how often his trucks rumble into Manhattan.
Amid the growing costs small businesses face, Margarella estimates his company will last about two years before he's forced to pack it up and move it out of New York.
"Other places, you go buy a plate for your truck, put a sticker on it, and you go to work. Not here, you know, not here," Margarella tells NY1. "After you buy the truck, you got to spend thousands — thousands — to the city of New York so that you can use that vehicle. I'm sick of it."
Margarella says he knows at least 10 other contractors who have relocated to New Jersey because of the cost of doing business here. He adds that if congestion pricing becomes a reality, he probably will follow them.