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Bridging the gap: MTA wants to raise Verrazano tolls to balance budget

Brooklyn Daily
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On the eve of the span’s 50th anniversary, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering the 16th toll hike on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to help close a budget gap.

The Authority unveiled two proposals on Nov. 17 — one that would raise tolls for all users and another that would put most of the burden on big trucks and Staten Island E-Z Pass users.

The first proposal would boost cash tolls for cars by $1 to $16 and hike E-ZPass tolls from $10.66 to $11.08.

The second proposal maintains cash tolls at $15 but still raises E-ZPass fees to $11.08.

Under either option, large trucks would shoulder most of the hike with five-axle trucks paying $86 cash — a $6 increase — while E-Z Pass users would pay $54.62 under proposal one or $58.82 under proposal two — up from $52.52.

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened on Nov. 21 1964 with a toll of 50 cents each way.

The authority, which controls bridges, tunnels, and public transit, is projected to fall $15.9 billion short on its $32 billion five-year capital plan through 2019. Fare and toll revenues cover 52 percent of the authority’s $13 billion annual operating budget.

The authority plans to cut $1.5 billion from annual spending by 2017, according to a press release, but will rely on toll and fare increases to make up most of the shortfall.

The authority’s board will vote on the toll-hike proposal in January. Before the vote, it will hold eight public hearings on the matter, including one in Brooklyn.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority fare increase public hearings at Walt Whitman Theater at Brooklyn College (2900 Campus Rd. at Hillel Place) Dec. 11 at 6 pm.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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