Proposed Cross Bay Bridge Discount Celebrated
Politicians and local leaders celebrated the proposed end to the toll on the Cross Bay Bridge for Rockaway and Broad Channel residents this past Sunday. Governor Cuomo included the reinstatement of the CBB resident rebate program in the executive budget that was announced last week.
Standing at the foot of the Beach 92 Street ramp to the bridge freshman Assemblyman
Phillip Goldfeder, who is credited with the accomplishment, thanked Cuomo and reminded everyone that it has been a long time coming.
“This has been a collaborative effort not just over one year or two years or five years, …to make sure the residents of our community [are] treated fairly,” said Goldfeder, who said the MTA used the toll to fill budget holes in the agency.
Goldfeder talked about the most recent efforts to end the toll.
“We put up a petition and within only a few weeks we had more than 2,000 people signing,” said the Assemblyman. Residents also sent letters to politicians as well as the president of the MTA.
State Senator Malcolm Smith, Assemblywoman Michele Titus, Democratic District Leader Lew Simon, Congressman Bob Turner, Queens County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, Queens Assemblyman Rory Lancman and others also heralded the announced return of the rebate. But, like Goldfeder, they offered caution because the executive budget is only a proposed document.
Pheffer, whose seat Goldfeder won after she was appointed Queens County Clerk, recalled her years working on state budgets.
“I know from being in the Assembly that many years that what’s in the initial budget is not what always ends up [in the final budget] and that’s what this is all about,” said Pheffer.
She added, “We’re the only borough that has to pay to go to our beautiful ocean. … The economic impact it has had on our community is obvious.”
“The cost this [toll] has on the business owners in this community and the economy is devastating,” said Shapiro. “We welcome this.”
Smith said, “This is a very important day for us, no question about it. But, until we adopt this budget … we still have a fight in front of us.”
Smith urged residents to continue to write letters “to the congressman, the governor, me, Phil [Assemblyman Goldfeder], and Michele [Assemblywoman Titus]. There’s still a little more to be done.”
Simon called it “an historic day for Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point.” He added, “the elimination of the toll for us, that’s a good thing. But, that toll should be free for all of Queens’ residents.”
“The bill has already been introduced in both houses,” said Goldfeder. “We’ll continue to move it forward and it’s not going to leave our agendas until we get it done.”
Originally there was a ten cent toll to pay for the cost of the bridge. Over time the toll has increased to $3.25.