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Split Tolling on the Verrazzano One Step Closer to Reality with House Committee Passage

Following Nadler, Rose, Velázquez agreement with MTA, key step towards removing one-way tolling mandate with Appropriations Committee passage

Washington, June 4, 2019

Washington, D.C. — Following an agreement by U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Max Rose, and Nydia Velázquez, the House Committee on Appropriations today passed legislation that would bring two-way tolling back to the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge—splitting the toll in half to be paid in both directions which studies have shown would decrease congestion and increase revenue without raising costs on commuters. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) leadership supports the proposal and is committed to investments in public transportation on Staten Island and in South Brooklyn in the upcoming 2020-2024 Capital Plan.

The House Committee on Appropriations passed the Fiscal Year 2020 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development funding bill today which includes language to remove the one-way tolling federal requirement for the Verrazzano.

“After more than two decades working on this issue, I am extremely proud that the House Committee on Appropriations passed legislation that includes language to restore two-way tolling on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge,” Nadler said. “The restoration of toll collection in both directions will greatly reduce traffic and congestion that has plagued Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, and Staten Island for too long. I applaud Congressman Rose and Congresswoman Velázquez for their work on this effort, and I look forward to seeing this legislation moved through Congress and, ultimately, signed into law.”

“This is common sense: splitting the toll will decrease traffic, increase investment in our transportation needs, and all without costing us a cent more,”
Rose said. “Committee passage is a key first step, and I won’t be satisfied until this isn’t just a law, but the overdue investments we are owed become a reality.”

“For far too long, one-way tolling on the Verrazzano bridge has meant more commercial traffic making its way across Staten Island and then through Brooklyn communities and Chinatown as trucks try to dodge tolls,” Velázquez said. “The legislative language approved in Committee today will mean less congestion, safer streets and better air quality across New York. It will reduce wear and tear on local infrastructure like the BQE, Gowanus Expressway, the Manhattan Bridge and Canal Street. I want to thank Congressmen Rose and Nadler for their collaboration advancing this plan. I look forward to seeing this legislation move through the full House of Representatives and, ultimately, become enacted.”

Currently, the Verrazzano-Narrows-Bridge is the only bridge in the country with federally mandated one-way tolling, first instituted in the 1980s to cut down on traffic backups from toll gantries. With modern day electronic tolling technology, the need for one-way tolling no longer exists—and by cutting out the loophole that drivers use to avoid paying or minimize the costs of tolls, enacting two-way tolling would cut down on congestion and pollution on Staten Island and could lead to $10 to $15 million in additional annual MTA revenue.

Both the MTA and independent consultants have found that split tolling eliminates incentives for non-commuters to toll-shop around New York City, reducing traffic congestion in Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn. Air quality will also be improved as vehicles will divert away from local roads onto main thoroughfares and highways.

The 2020-2024 MTA capital plan will be released in October of this year and will detail capital investments being made across the MTA’s entire service area. The plan will be reviewed by the Capital Plan Review Board and voted on by the MTA Board.

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