Today, Rep. Michael G. Grimm (R,C-NY) issued the following statement in reaction to the MTA's new rate hike proposals which include raising tolls on the Verrazano Bridge from $13 to $15.
"The MTA's rate hike proposals once again show the authority's callous disregard for the commuters in my district. On Staten Island, we're getting hit from both sides - from the outrageous toll hikes on the Port Authority bridges to the skyrocketing toll on the Verrazano. In Brooklyn, we're getting tolled into submission. My district contains the two highest bridge tolls in the nation, and we will not take it anymore!
"Tolls and taxes should not be the go-to solution for every debt-stricken government authority. Just as every working family or business must learn to live within a budget, so should the MTA. Whether it's the MTA or the PA, our message to them is the same: "We are not your personal ATM machine!' There has to be a better way.
"I have been leading the charge against these toll hikes, and will stop at nothing, including an act of Congress, to stop them. Last month, I introduced the Stop the Excessive Toll Hikes Act, which would block federal funding to any transit entity that has raised bridge and tunnel tolls by more than 10% during the last 5 years. Five years ago, tolls on the Verrazano Bridge were $10, so a 10% increase over 5 years would equal a $1 increase. This would mean that MTA could only receive their FY13 funds if they reduce the Verrazano Bridge toll to $11. From 2013-2018, they could only increase tolls by $1.10 to $12.10.
I urge the MTA to find a viable solution to their debt that doesn't balance its budget on the backs of the hard-working people in my district. Until then, I will continue to fight these hikes with every breath in my body and do all I can to move my legislation forward and into law."