2012-03-30 / Top Stories

CBB Rebate Officially Back

By Nicholas Briano

Goldfeder and various community leaders at the foot of the Cross Bay Bridge back in January. Goldfeder and various community leaders at the foot of the Cross Bay Bridge back in January. This year’s on-time approval of the New York State budget has special significance for the residents of Rockaway and Broad Channel.

It’s also significant for Assembly member Phillip Goldfeder who was able to vote on his first-ever Albany budget while granting one special reinstatement for the peninsula: the return of the Cross Bay Bridge resident rebate program. This means that Rockaway and Broad Channel residents will soon be able to traverse the bridge as many times as they need to without paying a dime.

“Most importantly, people in Rockaway and Broad Channel want to know whether or not the rebate is included,” Goldfeder said. “I am proud to say I was able to accomplish just that by providing reimbursement to the MTA for the Cross Bay Bridge rebate program. It’s nice to see something you work so hard on come to fruition.”

“While the money is in the budget we have to rely on the MTA to implement the program. I am urging the new director of the MTA, Joseph Lhota, to take the money and implement it as quickly as possible,” he continued.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels spokesperson Judie Glave told The Wave this week that the rebate should take effect in July at the latest.

Once the MTA receives the reim- bursement from the state, the money goes into the MTA general fund and must then be distributed to MTA Bridges and Tunnels. The rebate cannot be reinstated until they receive the reimbursement from the MTA fund.

When elected in November, Goldfeder pledged to make the CBB toll one of his top priorities. The MTA revoked the rebate back in 2010 after more than a decade of having Rockaway and Broad Channel residents with EZ-Pass cross the bridge for free. A compromise was then passed that was still considered unfair to most. It allowed the MTA to charge EZ-Pass residents for the first two trips across the bridge before subsequent trips became free of charge.

In the fall of 2011, directly after Goldfeder’s election, he sent a letter to MTA President Joseph Lhota, asking that the MTA reinstate the full residency discount. Shortly after, he sent Lhota a petition with 2,000 signatures in support of the toll’s elimination. Goldfeder then made the announcement in January that he worked the revival of the Cross Bay Bridge resident rebate program into the 2012 budget proposal. It took several months for the budget to be approved and for the rebate to become official.

“The return of this important rebate program is a step in the right direction towards the complete elimination of this inherently fair tax,” Goldfeder continued. “This toll has been a burden for the residents and businesses of our community for far too long. The passage of the rebate program in the budget is a tremendous victory for our community, but it is only the first step towards complete elimination of this toll for all of Queens residents.”

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