Catsimatidis On Verrazano Toll Hike: 'Don't Punish The People In Staten Island'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced that its bridge and tunnel fare hikes will take effect early in the morning on March 3.

In less than a week, cash tolls on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will hit $15.

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Republican mayoral hopeful and brash billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis blasted the rate hike as unfair.

“Give me a break. Don’t punish the people in Staten Island,” Catsimatidis told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “They’re taking the money from Brooklyn and Staten Island and diverting it to someplace, I don’t know where, but there’s got to be more responsibility here.”

Catsimatidis called for a freeze on toll hikes. He also criticized the state Legislature for voting to raise the MTA’s debt limit, arguing that voters should approve future increases to the agency’s debt limit.

The mayor gets to appoint just four members to the MTA board, Diamond reported.

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“But, the mayor has to use the size 12 shoes to put his foot down and say ‘OK, you guys want an increase, prove it to me,'” said Catsimatidis. “The mayor’s responsibility is to defend his citizens.”

MORE: Check Full Fare Increase Info Here

As of 2 a.m. on March 3, the toll hike will take effect. Staten Island residents who have registered and who cross the Verrazano at least three times a month will see their E-ZPass toll go up to $6 per crossing.

Non-Staten Island residents who use E-ZPass will pay $10.66 going forward, up from the current toll of $9.60.

In addition to the bridge and tunnel toll hikes, MetroCard increases will also take effect on March 3.

LIRR and Metro-North Railroad fare increases will take effect on March 1, according to the MTA.

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