NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is 50 years old but not everyone is celebrating.

Staten Island’s politicians boycotted the anniversary ceremony Friday because of a proposed toll hike announced earlier this week. The double-decked suspension bridge links the borough with Brooklyn.

PHOTOS: Verrazano-Narrows Bridge Turns 50

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has proposed raising the one-way cash toll for cars by $1 to $16. Toll increases also would be applied across all major MTA bridge and tunnel crossings.

“Fifty years after Robert Moses last great project in New York was completed, our community, which has been in the shadow of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, is hurting every day with the tolls,” State Sen. Martin Golden said in a statement. “With news of more toll increases coming down the pike, we need to stop punishing people who have family, jobs, or go to school on Staten Island.”

“No one in this city, regardless of residency should have to pay a $16 toll to cross a bridge,” Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said in a statement. “I have had enough, my constituents have had enough and, until the MTA provides our community with equitable treatment and a reasonable toll structure, there is nothing to celebrate here.”

“I am joining my colleagues in Staten Island in a boycott of the celebration of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge’s 50th anniversary,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said in a statement. “There is nothing to celebrate until our city’s commuters can finally receive the Verrazano toll relief that they deserve.”

“It’s unfortunate they weren’t here today. We’re here to celebrate what is an engineering marvel,” MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

A statement from the MTA said Staten Islanders can significantly lower their rates by using E-ZPass electronic tolling and taking advantage of resident discounts.

The bridge was built by the hands of iron workers like 74-year-old Edward Johnson, who saved the life of a coworker scalped by a broken wire.

“I feel like it’s a part of me. Even when I see the rust even, I feel like it’s blood on my arm,” Johnson said. “You know, if they’re going to charge that, so be it. There must be a good reason.”

Joe Scarpelli was the very first person to ride over the bridge in 1964.

Scarpelli: “It was a lot of fun.”

Diamond: “Did they make you pay the toll?”

Scarpelli: “Oh yes. Yeah, we paid with a Kennedy half-dollar, which just came out that year.”

The MTA’s last capital program spent $540 million on upgrades to the bridge, Diamond reported.

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