Brooklyn drivers who regularly take the Verrazzano Bridge to Staten Island know the toll adds up. So some city lawmakers are looking to cut the cost for those commuters.
Lawmakers announced legislation Tuesday that would let Brooklyn commuters who drive over the bridge more than 10 times a month pay $6.88 a trip, the same price that Staten Island residents currently pay. The proposal calls for a rebate applied to a driver's monthly bill once they have driven over the bridge for the 11th time in a month.
The move comes two months after the MTA, which owns and operates the Verrazano, voted to increase the fare to cross into Staten Island to $19 for drivers without an E-ZPass and about $12 for those who have one.
"There have been previous attempts at this in the past that have gone nowhere because it was just kind of a throwaway. 'Oh, we are just going to give everyone a discount, one ride, two ride,' and it's never actually gone anywhere," State Sen. Andrew Gounardes of Brooklyn said at a news conference announcing the legislation. "So we came back with something a bit more targeted, a bit more focused, and we are going to hone in on helping people who regularly travel this bridge on a daily or weekly basis."
Lawmakers don't know the price number of drivers who would qualify for the discount, but estimate it could help thousands of Brooklyn commuters.
They insist a reduced toll would not increase congestion on the roads. "What we're saying is, for those people who aren't contributing to the mess in Manhattan, that they should be given an opportunity to get some toll relief pursuant to the fact that they are regular crossers," said Diano Savino, who represents parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn in the state Senate.
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