Volume 20, Number 43 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | October 20 - 26, 2010

Two-way tolls on the Verrazano

In attempt to alleviate congestion, U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler is working on federal legislation that would implement two-way tolling on the Verrazano Bridge: only this time, it would be cashless, thanks to a new system introduced by the M.T.A.

 The system would lessen the hoards of trucks that enter New York City via Staten Island to avoid charges on the Hudson River Bridge and tunnel crossings, according to Nadler.

“The restoration of toll collection in both directions, using electronic tolling innovations that won’t require stops at a toll plaza, would greatly improve traffic and congestion in Brooklyn and Manhattan,” the congressman said in a statement.

Many of truckers try to save money by crossing Staten Island eastward via the Verrazano; and drive through the Port Authority tunnels on their way back to New Jersey, both free rides. As a result, they clog up streets in Chinatown and elsewhere in Lower Manhattan.

“The two-way toll would eliminate the flow of trucks entering New York City via Staten Island in order to escape the charges on the Hudson River Bridge and tunnel crossings,” Nadler said. “With the MTA now poised to test new toll-collection technologies, which are likely to be implemented across the region, all New Yorkers will reap the benefits and the MTA will generate new revenue that it sorely needs.”

 Two-way tolling at the Verrazano was eliminated in 1986, when the federal transportation law was amended accordingly. One-way tolling was then codified in federal law in the mid-90s. Nadler’s proposals to reinforce the two-way tolls a few years later were shot down.

— Aline Reynolds

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