STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Four days a week, Huguenot resident Frank DelVecchio crosses the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge to attend classes at Brooklyn College.
That trip translates into a weekly toll bill of about $50, he said on Saturday.
“It’s a significant burden,” said DelVecchio.
That’s bad news.
But good news could be on the way for DelVecchio and thousands of Staten Island commuters who traverse the four bridges linking the borough to Brooklyn and New Jersey.
Standing alongside DelVecchio on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk in South Beach with the sun-dappled Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge looming in the distance, Rep. Max Rose unveiled proposed legislation that would give cash-strapped commuters some welcome toll relief.
The bill calls for a 50-cent tax credit on every dollar over $1,000 which any commuter spends per year driving across a bridge which has a regular peak-hour toll of at least $11.
The legislation would apply to all four Island spans – the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, the Goethals Bridge, the Outerbridge Crossing and the Bayonne Bridge.
Staten Islanders face the highest toll rates in the nation, said Rose (D-Staten Island/South Brooklyn).
“Every one of us has to pay these damn tolls,” said Rose.
“This bill will put hundreds, if not thousands of dollars back in the bank accounts of Staten Islanders and Brooklynites,” the Congressman said. “If you want to see the money you’re spending on tolls go down, not up, then this bill is for you. And I am going to be doing everything I can to build support across the United States so that this bill can become law.”
Rose said the average Staten Islander with an E-ZPass and resident discount who drives to work daily over the Verrazzano shells out about $1,430 in tolls annually.
The bill would allow them to claim a $215 credit, he said.
The numbers are even higher for Brooklyn commuters who cross the Verrazzano each day.
They pay nearly $4,000 in tolls, which would let them claim a $1,100 credit, said Rose.
Rose said the money which borough and Brooklyn commuters pony up for tolls could be put to better use in the local economy.
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