First fare hikes for subways and buses, now toll increases for bridges and tunnels.
After a public hearing, the MTA today approved toll increases for their nine bridges and tunnels.
Come December, motorists will have to pay $13 to cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and $6.50 at the major crossings of the Hudson. E-Zpass users will also see a 5 percent increase. Despite pleas from City Councilmembers and commuters to vote down the tolls, the Board passed the motion with a final vote of 12-1.
“We are in this way using pricing to encourage people to shift to the mode of payment that is most effective and most efficient” said the MTA Chief Executive Jay Walder in regards to the 18 percent increase on commuters paying in cash.
Board member Norman Seabrook stood alone at the hearing, when he vetoed the hikes. He is the only voting member who is part of a union. He said the public should not bear the costs of the ten billion dollar deficit. “I don’t think that the people of the city or state right now have the funds to pay more for less. They continue to raise these fares, there continues to be mismanagement in the way that they raise the fares on the backs of the public, and I think it is unfortunate.”
Seabrook says he wants the State Legislature to dismantle the board, for an association that will be more responsive to the needs of commuters. The toll increases will take effect on December 30th, the same day as the subway and bus fare hikes.