Two-Way Toll for the Verrazano Now!
Lower Manhattan is being pounded to pieces by heavy trucks and choking on staggering traffic. The pollution, noise and menace are so severe that incensed neighborhood residents and elected officials staged two demonstrations late last year. The one-way, Staten Island-bound, toll on the Verrazano Bridge fuels the problem. To avoid the toll, west bound truckers and motorists detour along the Gowanus Expressway and through the crowded city streets of lower Manhattan to take the Holland Tunnel free into NJ.
Transportation experts and elected officials representing lower Manhattan and west Brooklyn have long decried the one-way toll as irrational and environmentally destructive. The toll is a technological and political dinosaur from another era, rooted in the mistaken conventional wisdom that a two-way toll would hurt Staten Island motorists. In November, T.A. asked Senator Schumer to champion a Federal study assessing the effects of installing two-way tolls, incorporating discounts for SI residents, and using EZ-Pass and non-stop tolling technology, such as computerized photographing and billing for non-pass holders. An objective study would reveal that a two-way toll increasing during peak traffic periods and decreasing in off-peak periods would reduce traffic in lower Manhattan and west Brooklyn, while easing traffic on the bridge itself, a win-win result for everyone.