2012-01-25 / Front Page

Cuomo Gives Rockaway, Broad Channel Residents Break On Bridge Toll

By John Toscano

Governor Andrew Cuomo has included in his 2012 budget a bridge toll discount for Rockaway and Broad Channel residents who pay to cross the bridge that connects them.

The action was applauded by Congressmember Bob Turner (R–C–Queens/Brooklyn) and Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder (D–Rockaway), who have been seeking a total elimination of the toll, which is imposed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

The toll on the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge is the only intra-borough bridge toll in New York City. Goldfeder noted that Rockaway and Broad Channel residents are “required to pay a burdensome toll, several times a day, in order to get to work and back, transport children to and from school and complete other everyday errands”.

Responding to the governor’s offer to residents of the two communities of a toll discount, Goldfeder said it is truly a victory for them. He said he would continue “to work with the community, my colleagues and the governor to ensure that struggling families are given the relief they deserve from this unfair burden”.

Turner, whose district includes the Rockaways and is also a resident there, applauded the governor’s proposed action and added:

“I am pleased that the governor has heard our message that residents of the Rockaways and Broad Channel should not be penalized for traveling from one end of their borough to another.”

The lawmaker added that the bridge “provides the only practical access to shopping and services for these residents. This is a significant initial victory, but we must ensure that this proposed resident toll discount becomes a reality.…”

Both Turner and Goldfeder had written letters to the governor recently urging total elimination of the toll for Rockaway and Broad Channel residents.

Goldfeder said the toll negatively affects an already sluggish local economy and places an inherently excessive financial burden on residents and business owners as well.

He noted also that civic and community leaders have been protesting the toll and called for its elimination.

Turner, explaining how the toll discount would work, stated: “The governor’s proposed budget for next year, states that the state shall pay the MTA for the costs associated with promoting access to employment through reimbursements for E-ZPass tolls paid by residents of Broad Channel and the Rockaway Peninsula and travel over the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge.”

The lawmaker said the toll had been free for 12 years for Broad Channel and Rockaway residents who used E-ZPass, but was reinstated in 2010.

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