Whether because of snow, Hurricane Sandy fatigue or just plain resignation, this year's round of MTA fare hike hearings have been sparsely attended and generally depressing. But the recently rescheduled Staten Island hearing—now set for next Wednesday, November 28—could be different. Because it isn't just a fare hike on the line here, there is also a toll hike to be discussed. A hike that as recently as September Congressman Michael Grimm said would break an already broken borough.
"There is no back to break," Grimm warned before Mother Nature came and found it. "We are broken as a community from these tolls and we're not going to lie down anymore. We'll do whatever we have to do to make sure the MTA does not ruin this community any further."
So what are these terrible tolls? Well if you pay in cash, the MTA wants to charge a legitimately hefty one-way toll of $15 (up from $13). But if you are paying that you are doing it wrong. With EZ-Pass, the hiked toll drops to $10.60 (from $9.60). And if you are a Staten Island resident with EZ-Pass that toll is just $6.36 (from $5.76). Still too expensive? Well, if you live on Staten Island and carpool, the toll post-hike is just $2.96 (from $2.68). Which is less than a round trip ride on that temporary ferry the city just announced for the borough.
The other toll hikes being discussed are $1 bumps on the Triborough, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck, Henry Hudson bridges and the Brooklyn-Battery and Queens Midtown tunnels ($.50 with EZ-Pass) and $.50 toll hikes ($.19 with EZ-Pass) for the Marine Parkway and Cross Bay bridges.
These toll hikes, or the fare hike, are nothing to sneeze at. And if you don't like them you should certainly head to the Springer Concert Hall at the College of Staten Island (2800 Victory Boulevard) and speak your mind to the row of silent white guys waiting for you. We're sure that will get Albany to help make the MTA's books right.