2009-02-13 / Top Stories

DiResto To MTA: Don't Shut Out The Rockaways

City Council candidate Glenn Di- Resto took the stand at a recent MTA hearing on the proposed elimination of the resident rebate program on the Cross Bay Bridge, and delivered a simple message: No way, no how, no tolls.

"This bridge is the lifeline of our communities and eliminating this rebate program for residents will have a huge negative impact on our local economy and further isolate our community from the rest of the city," said DiResto.

Currently, residents of the Rockaways are rebated the toll every other time they cross the bridge. The Cross Bay Bridge is the only intra-borough toll bridge in the city.

The toll would be especially devastating to families from Rockaway and Broad Channel in this time of economic hardship, the candidate said.

"Eliminating this rebate would cause some homeowners and renters to relocate to other neighborhoods due to the added financial burden," said DiResto. "This could further destabilize our local housing and rental markets. Eliminating this rebate will also have a negative impact on many of our small business owners who are currently suffering. DiResto, a retired police lieutenant who served New Yorkers in uniform for 20 years, said eliminating the rebate would be a crushing burden to Rockaway Beach residents, most of whom cross the bridge many times a day.

The Rockaways are often shut out of City Hall, DiResto said, and a toll on this major thoroughfare would only isolate the neighborhood further.

"This toll would prevent our free movement to other parts of the city. We would be isolated and unable to leave our own community without paying a toll," said DiResto. "Residents of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx and Staten Island all have the luxury of traveling freely within their borough without having to pay a toll, and so should we."

DiResto is campaigning to make the voices of South Queens heard in City Hall again; and the abolition of this rebate, he believes, would be another shot to an already ignored community.

"You can travel freely from the Bronx to Manhattan, then to Brooklyn, then to Queens without having to pay a toll," said DiResto, "while (local) residents will be forced to pay a toll to perform simple everyday tasks. This is wrong."

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