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Brooklyn Lawmakers: ‘The Tolls Are Too Damn High,’ Seek Discounted Verrazano Toll

Sign for Verrazano Bridge toll in Brooklyn, March 7, 2014. (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

Sign for Verrazano Bridge toll in Brooklyn, March 7, 2014. (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Staten Islanders who frequently take the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will be getting a break on the tolls.

Now, Brooklyn lawmakers are working to the same for people who live on the other side of the bridge.

As WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported, the name of the petition drive to bring down tolls borrows from former political candidate Jimmy McMillan.

State Sen. Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis have launched the website thetollsaretoodamnhigh.com in an effort to lower the cost for Brooklyn residents who use the crossing at least three times a month.

The Brooklyn lawmakers are leading the effort to reduce the $15 toll for frequent bridge users. The toll for E-ZPass tagholders is $10.66 per trip.

“Our discount, or the 58 percent discount, would bring that down to $6.30,” said Golden.

The plan relies on $30 million from New York State.

Dyker Heights Civic Association president Sandy Vallas said some of the funding should also come from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the crossing.

“Chalk it up to greed. The MTA has to realize in these economic times, they have to have some respect for people, and that’s all New Yorkers,” he told Diamond.

Malliotakis agreed, noting the toll is a burden on residents who use the bridge often.

“They’re making 76 percent profit on this bridge. They have the flexibility to lower the tolls and make them a fair rate. No one should be having to pay $15 to go over a bridge,” Malliotakis told 1010 WINS on Friday. “We still are at a major disadvantage when you compare the residents of south Brooklyn and Staten Island to the rest of the boroughs. We don’t have the transportation options that everyone else does so we do have to rely on our car to get from one place to the other.”

The lawmakers said the proposal would expand a discount already offered to Brooklyn residents who frequently use the Goethals Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing and the Bayonne Bridge.

That Port Authority bridge discount program went into effect in 2012.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the toll relief for Staten Islanders last month.

The Verrazano is the longest suspension bridge in North America.

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