2010-09-03 / Top Stories

Bridge Toll And Fare Hike Hearings September 20

CBB Toll Protest Set for 10/5
By Nicholas Briano

The MTA has recently announced that they will hold their Queens public hearing on the proposed fare and toll increases on September 20, in Flushing.

The hearing will take place inside the Sheraton LaGuardia East, located at 135-40 39 Avenue at 6:00 p.m. Registration for public speaking will remain open until 9:00 p.m.

The toll increase on both the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge and

Marine Parkway Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge may soon cost Rockaway and Broad Channel residents $1.24 per trip up from the current $1.13, while the cash toll will go up 25 cents to $3.00. Non-Rockaway residents with an E-Z Pass are looking at a toll increase from $1.71 to $1.88. The current rebate program will remain intact for Rockaway and Broad Channel residents after their first two trips across the Cross Bay Bridge. Democratic District Leader Lew M. Simon announced this week that he will hold a rally across the Cross Bay Bridge on October 5, at 7:00 p.m. in protest of the elimination of the resident rebate program. The program which gave Rockaway and Broad Channel residents unlimited free access over the bridge, ended in July.

The MTA announced revisions last week to their initial fare hike proposal that was released in July. But the updated proposals could have riders of the buses and subways paying more than originally expected.

Included in the new fare hike proposal is a $2.50 fare for nearly every rider and an increase in the cost of the weekly and monthly unlimited Metrocard rates. The monthly unlimited card could rise to as much as $130.

MTA officials have said the numbers are just proposals and provide flexibility for the board to incorporate public input into the final decision. It has been done in the past for other public hearings, when the proposed amount is often higher than what is ultimately adopted and approved by the MTA board.

This set of increases and another, scheduled for 2013, come as a result of the MTA bailout agreement made last year with Governor David Paterson. The MTA states the agency’s expenses will rise by about 2.4 percent from this year to next due to increased pension costs, union salaries and rising debt payments. The toll and fare hikes could raise revenues by more than $400 million.

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