Local congressman Dan Donovan thinks it’s high time that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) considers reinstating a two-way toll on the Verrazano Bridge.
A 1986 federal transportation bill from then-Congressman Guy Molinari is the reason why the bridge is currently a one-way toll in the first place, with Molinari nixing tolls on one side to placate residents who complained about pollution from the toll plaza as well as an attempt to alleviate traffic into Brooklyn. But many blame the one-way toll as the cause of traffic jams that extend far into Brooklyn, especially during rush hour, prompting Donavan to pen a letter to the MTA, requesting that the agency conduct a study that would measure the impact of re-establishing tolls in both directions, reports Brooklyn Paper.
With the announcement of a new cashless tolling system coming to the city’s bridges, Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo requesting a similar study to be conducted regarding two-way tolls on the Verrazano. “If there’s a sense conveyed to the government and MTA that there is interest and support on both sides of the Verrazano Bridge for this, then I don’t see how this wouldn’t happen,” he stated, reasoning that cashless tolls combined with two-way tolls would alleviate traffic congestion and generate revenue by encouraging drivers who usually take Manhattan’s tunnels out of the city to travel through Brooklyn as a quicker alternative.
“If the MTA is going to recoup the millions of dollars they’re losing now by having a one-way-toll and it doesn’t cause more traffic — in fact it lessens traffic — and we could use some of that revenue that they would now generate to help the people of Brooklyn and Staten Island, then it is something I would very much consider,” Donovan told the Brooklyn Paper.
According to Bklyner, the MTA wouldn’t be able to actually convert the bridge’s tolling setup since the toll direction is determined federally and would require a federal bill to implement its change.
The MTA has not yet decided if it will move forward with conducting the study.