Following the passage of a two-way tolling plan for the Verrazzano Bridge by the House of Representatives, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is once again calling on the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to release the results of a study conducted to determine the impact that two-way tolling on the Verrazano Bridge would have on Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn. Malliotakis wrote to MTA Chairman Pat Foye on May 20th and filed a Freedom of Information Law Request on June 13th, yet data related to the economic and traffic impact of this system has yet to be released to the public.
In her letter to MTA Chairman Pat Foye, Malliotakis wrote that the agency’s “lack of transparency” is what makes her and residents of the community skeptical.
“Residents are skeptical and rightfully so, considering the MTA has been silent as to how this would impact traffic on the Staten Island Expressway, the southbound Gowanus during evening rush and regional tolling. Now, not two months after two-way tolling was initially proposed, the Port Authority is already calling for increases in bridge tolls with the reduction of discounts that many Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn residents depend on. I am not convinced that these proposed toll increases on us are not to make up for the revenue the Port Authority may lose as a result of two-way tolling on the Verrazzano Bridge. As I have stated before, I am not closed to the idea of two-way tolling, but I need to be shown that this is not just another Ponzi scheme by the MTA. The only way for us to find out is for them to release the results of their study,” explained Malliotakis.
This is not the first time the Assemblywoman has taken legal action in order to get fair tolling for her constituents. In 2012, Malliotakis sued the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) to force the release of its economic impact study on the crossings connecting Staten Island and New Jersey. Pat Foye was Chairman of the PANYNJ at that time. A Supreme Court judge ruled in her favor that the 103 page study be released.