Featured Comment by Arnold Kingston: Tolls of $28 to travel roundtrip between Brooklyn and New Jersey are excessive at a time of rising prices for food, gasoline and other everyday commodities. The government has to find ways to finance operations that do not involve higher taxes, tolls, and fees that affect the working class the hardest. Making life more difficult for hard working New Yorkers is in the long run short-sighted and counterproductive. As the middle class squeeze tightens, more businesses and individuals will flee the city taking jobs with them, shrinking the tax base and slowing economic growth. This is not the way to go.
Staten Island is one of the 5 boroughs of New York City in the State of New York. We're the only borough that doesn't have a subway system or even a light rail. Each and every year our tolls go up and up and up. Staten Islanders and all motorists feel the blow. Toll hikes on the 4 Bridges on Staten Island are out of control. These 4 toll revenue bridges incude the Verrazano Bridge owned and operated by the MTA - Metropolitan Transportation Authority and 3 others the Outerbridge Crossing, Goethals, and Bayonne Bridges which are owned and operated by the Port Authority of NY & NJ. We see constant public transit cuts yearly not only on SI but even in Brooklyn. Even though we pay the highest tolls on the East Coast we are seeing less and less in return for the tolls we pay. Cash toll payers pay outright from their wallets constantly and it's gotten to the point that cash toll payers will never get a discount. Even if you pay with Ezpass the cost is still a lot for all who use these 4 bridges, The toll on the Verrazano Bridge is currently $15 and is set to rise up to $25 in the near future. The biggest concern is that truckers are forced to pay $15 per axle on the Verrazano Bridge and $13 per axle on any of the 3 Port Authority bridges. It's too costly to do business here just because the tolls are astronomical. Businesses and trucking companies alone pay hundreds of dollars each week and upon thousands of dollars annually for transporting goods to our local businesses on Staten Island / the 5 boroughs of NYC and New York and New Jersey state. If we don't tacle these these tolls now we will continue to see our local economy diminish further. We cannot and will not allow this to happen any further. Businesses are closing left and right, many are forced to cut jobs and or cut their salaries and hours, and even other businesses are choosing to move and start business elsewhere all due to these high tolls destroying them and their customers. With NYC's burdensome codes + regulations + fees + fines + permits + policies it's hard for a business to keep operating in an already downturning economic climate. It's even more difficult now because there are paying more for their goods/deliveries when trucking companies are charged insane tolls. Many of which are also paying thousands of dollars. These tolls are not only hurting businesses but they're killing our taxpayers wallets. They've also have made families suffer whether its to visit their friends, family, and or loved ones. All simply due to a $15 or $13 toll that many people cannot afford on a monthly or even weekly basis. There are also many daily commuters that drive to work each and everyday to make a living the realization of these burdensome tolls isn't being brought to light. The point is we're all burdened by these tolls and they must be stopped. All motorists and truckers who have to go into either NY or NJ use these 4 bridges. They have no other transportation options. For the tolls we pay we're left with bridges that are mismanaged and in disrepair, city bus + express bus cuts, crumbling roads filled with potholes, and the longest commute in the nation.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH We must end all toll hikes. I'm calling on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, The Port Authority of NY & NJ, and the MTA - Metropolitan Transportation Authority to freeze all future toll hikes indefinitely and lower the tolls for everyone to afford. All 4 Bridge Tolls shall be dramitically reduced to $6 for all motorists and $24 for all truckers. On top of this Staten Island should also receive their fair share of annual toll money revenue 25% to be exact that can go to fixing our roads, bridges, schools, local events, and possibly a future light rail that can benefit everyday commuters that commute to work in NYC or NJ. This will spur business and job growth while helping our local economies recover from yearly toll hikes and the 2008 Recession. It will also allow more travelers to visit the East Coast.
I myself was born and raised on Staten Island and through the years of these yearly increases I've seen many businesses close not only on SI but even in New Jersey and Brooklyn it's despicable. I here from others that can't afford to live here anymore and are choosing to live elsewhere. I've heard from many that they can't even afford to visit their friends, family, and loved ones because it's to costly for them. I've even heard that many businesses and paying thousands of dollars just to do business in both our states because of these high costly tolls we shouldn't be hurting businesses we should be helping them stay alive and attract consumers. I feel that if we can't stop these toll hikes we're screwed. We will see much more fiscal unaccountabilty in both NY and NJ and we will see more jobs being cut and more vacant and abandoned store fronts, properties, restaurants, etc. THe time is now or never and we must do something about it. We should no longer be a bank to these transportation agencies in which they allow to raise these bridges tolls whenever they feel like. If they want to get more money for future projects that are scupulous and fiscally unsound that's their problem not our ours let them choke for all we care
STOP THE $15 VERRAZANO BRIDGE TOLL HIKE & CUT $13 NEW JERSEY BRIDGE TOLLS - (MAKE ALL 4 TOLLS $6)
Dear Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York), The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, and NJ Governor Chris Christie,
We are the people of New York & New Jersey and other states who want fair priced tolls for all 4 bridge on Staten Island. These bridges include the Verrazano Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing, Goethals Bridge, and Bayonne Bridge. I'm asking for you to lower these tolls to the permanently fixed rate of $6.00 for all including motorists,truckers,motorcycles,tractor trailers, and RV's. We also call for a complete elimination of future toll hikes along with an elimination of both peak and non peak toll rates. Right now businesses are hurting and many are enforcing job cuts and layoffs while others are forced to close altogether just to make ends meet. This isn't right and it isn't fair. Staten Island doesn't have a subway system we mostly rely on traveling by car or using public transportation such as local and express buses. Along with the Staten Island Ferry and a train that only goes to the St.George Staten Island Ferry Terminal / Tottenville. What I find hard to believe is that all toll monies collected are not benefiting motorists of Staten Island whether they live here or not. The New York Container Terminal on Staten Island is on the brink of closing and this could cost up to 1,000 or more jobs to be lost and we cannot let this happen. If the Container Terminal closes this will drastically effect both New York State and the Garden State of New Jersey and create deep economic disruption to our local economies. With a reduced toll rate of $6 one way for all 4 bridges we hope everyone can afford to pay without any future toll hikes. We also ask that 35% of all toll monies collected yearly by all 4 of these bridges be allocated for Staten Island use only for our roads and infrastructure. With this Staten Island can create a fund to benefit our infrastructure for years to come in order to set aside for a future Light Rail or a future revitalization of the North Shore Staten Island Railway. I urge you to stop picketing the pockets of countless taxpayers money. We the Motorists who cross these 4 bridges don't deserve to pay the highest tolls in nation. It is ridiculous and absurd to constantly hit Staten Island with never ending toll hikes. As of March 2013 the Verrazano will jump to a $15 toll and we want you New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and The Metropolitan Transportation Authority to suspend this toll hike and reduce the Verrazano Toll to $6. I ask New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to implement a reduction of the Port Authority tolls to a permanently fixed rate of $6.00 so that both our economies can work again for the future of our states and for the economy that is about to come in the years ahead. I urge you to fight for Staten Islanders and fight for the motorists who cross these bridges each and every single day. I know many who are suffering financially both people and businesses I see this in my community and many parts of the Island along with Brooklyn and New Jersey. It's a very sorry sight to see. These toll increases put constanst financial burdens the lives of many including their friends and family including mine as well. If you can't do this we will continue to fall into financial ruin and our economies will falter for years to come whether its businesses or residents of both of our states we must find common ground for a brighter future that is yet to be while balancing our budgets and finding common solutions and building further infrastructure to adapt to our everyday lives to live more freely and smoothly for generations to come.
Sincerely, Dominic Cenatiempo