Give us a break! Brooklyn drivers want a piece of Staten Island’s Verrazzano discount

Mike Montone
April 02, 2019 - 10:12 am

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- If you live on Staten Island and you have an EZ Pass, you get a discount when you drive over the Verrazzano Bridge -- it's part of a deal worked out a long time ago. Now, some Brooklynites want in on the discount.

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The latest MTA bridge and tunnel toll hike drove the Verrazzano toll to $12.24 with an EZ Pass, and $19 with one. It's still a more reasonable $5.50 for Staten Island residents. That has City Councilman Justin Brannan said the difference in costs is taking a toll on Brooklyn drivers' bank accounts.

"I don't think people in Brooklyn, southern Brooklyn begrudge Staten Islanders for having the discount. We just want the same discount," he told 1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon.

Brannan said workers, students, people with medical appointments, go from Brooklyn to Staten Island or New Jersey, but no one has offered them a break.

"We're not even on the radar. It's like yeah we're gonna re-up the Staten Island discount, but we're not even talking about the Brooklyn side and people are fed up," he said.

Brannan's ire was echoed by Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis who represents both boroughs and called the fare hike 'unconscionable.'

“It’s unconscionable that New Yorkers are being forced to pay $19 to travel to another borough in the city in which they live,” she said.

Brannan is asking state reps to make a pitch in Albany to provide discount for Brooklyn drivers who have to go to Staten Island at least three times a month.

State Senator Diane Savino also represents voters in both boroughs. She said she would continue to fight for the Staten Island discount, but would advocate for Brooklyn drivers as well.

“The Staten Island discount has existed for over 20 years, and I’ll always fight to ensure that it continues,” Savino said in a statement to Bklyner. “Unlike other city residents, Staten Islanders have no choice but to pay a toll when they leave home. This provides them with some monetary relief for that burden. That being said, I have and will continue to work with my Brooklyn colleagues to find a solution for Brooklyn residents who travel regularly to Staten Island for work, school or to visit family.”

The Verrazzano Bridge is the most expensive to cross in the country.

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