Congressman Michael G. Grimm (R,C-NY) sent a letter today to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in strong opposition to a proposal to raise the toll on the Verrazano Bridge from $13 to $15. The toll hike is one revenue-raising proposal being considered by the MTA as part of a larger plan to raise fares on commuters.
"Why is the answer always to raise tolls? Every family and business in NYC has had to learn to live within a budget, so why can't the MTA? We are sick and tired of NYC's debt-stricken agencies -- whether it being the PA or the MTA -- running immediately to the taxpayers for a bailout. There has to be another solution that doesn't involve shifting the burden to the taxpayer. I suggest the MTA a serious look at its finances, cut out the waste, and find a creative way to maintain the current level of services without raising fares or the tolls on the Verrazano Bridge," said Rep. Grimm.
The letter is attached and the text pasted below:
September 19, 2012
The Honorable Joseph J. Lhota
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017-3739
It is with great concern that I read about a new round of toll hikes that the MTA may inflict on the public. The mere suggestion of raising the Verrazano Bridge's already sky-high toll is a slap in the face of commuters who already pay too much for too little.
Many of my constituents have concluded with good reason that the authorities in our state have no solutions to deficits that doesn't involve raising tolls. We must work to change that, and we must show that toll increases are a last resort that will never be considered without the benefit of a thorough, publicly-available analysis of the impact a toll increase would have on our communities. The people of my district and across New York City deserve to know how our businesses and families will be affected. I can assure you that any study of this matter would illuminate something most people already know: that our communities have been pushed to the breaking point by skyrocketing tolls.
No one wants or can endure another round of toll hikes on the heels of those enacted by the Port Authority and the MTA in the last several years. No government agency or authority should be able to ride rough shod over the will of the people. I urge you to immediately rule out the possibility of raising the Verrazano toll, and to conduct a thorough economic impact study on the effect of any other toll increases before such a possibility is even considered by the MTA board. The hardworking families of Staten Island and Brooklyn have had to learn to do more with less through the last few years of the recession. The MTA needs to learn to do the same!
Michael G. Grimm