Verrazzano tolls: Now, they want to charge drivers coming from NJ
NEW YORK — Three New York representatives said they will sponsor legislation to return tolling in both directions to the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and close a toll-saving "loophole" for New Jersey drivers.
The plan would not result in additional tolls for users of the MTA bridge but would split the current tolls, according to U.S. Rep. Max Rose, who represents Staten Island.
The tolls are currently collected westbound only, allowing New Jersey drivers to avoid paying a toll to get into Brooklyn and Manhattan. Commuters can exit Manhattan using the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels without paying a toll.
Rose said two-way tolling was eliminated in 1986 to cut traffic backups at the toll plazas. New Jersey Traffic North's Bob Williams recalled five-to-eight mile delays used to develop leaving Staten Island every morning.
"With modern day electronic tolling technology, the need for one-way tolling no longer exists — and by cutting out the loophole that drivers use to avoid paying or minimize the costs of tolls, enacting two-way tolling would cut down on congestion and pollution on Staten Island and could lead to $10 to $15 million in additional annual MTA revenue," Rose said in a statement.
The plan would provide funding for investments in public transportation on Staten Island and Brooklyn and has the backing of the MTA.
The MTA increased the tolls in March to $19 for non-New York-issued E-ZPass and cash users, up from $17. E-ZPass users with a New York account will pay $12.24 (up from $11.52). New Jersey residents, however, are allowed to get an account with the New York E-ZPass.
The plan is the latest salvo in a new battle between New York and New Jersey over tolls. Gov. Phil Murphy said he and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached a "conceptual understanding" about protecting New Jersey drivers from planned congestion pricing in Manhattan and potentially being double-taxed.
MTA chairman Patrick Foye disputed Murphy's statement and said his agency, which will determine what makes up the "central business district" that will be affected by congestion pricing, had not reached an agreement with anyone about credits and exemptions.
More from New Jersey 101.5: