New Yorkers who commute via Staten Island know what it feels like to pay high tolls. The Verrazano Bridge has some of the most expensive tolls in the country. And guess what? On March 19th, those tolls are about to go up again. The E-ZPass rate for cars will increase from $11.04 to $11.52. The cash toll will increase from $17 to $18. Note: Tolls are only collected when driving into Staten Island. Also, Staten Island residents pay a discounted rate. Detailed information about the toll increases can be found on the MTA’s website.
So why is this happening?
MTA officials assert that the bridge tolls and subway fares need to be increased every 2 years to cover the costs of maintaining the transportation infrastructure. However, it is very important to note that while the Verrazano Bridge may have expensive tolls, it is not the busiest toll bridge in the country. The George Washington Bridge (GWB) has been listed as the busiest bridge in the world for many years in a row. More than 100 million vehicles cross this structure every year! Yet, the GWB toll is only about a dollar more than that of the Verrazano’s. So why is this so?
Perhaps some of our business minded readers might be able to explain. It could be the fact that these two bridges are managed by two separate companies. The Metropolitan Transit Authority operates and maintains the Verrazano Bridge. However, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is responsible for the George Washington Bridge.
Perhaps the GWB benefits from what is called “economies of scale.” That is, the bridge may experience lower operating costs as a result of it being able to purchase supplies etc. in large quantities. After all, it is the busiest bridge in the world. Hence, it probably requires frequent repairs and is able to purchase large amounts of construction materials at a discounted rate. Or, it could be that the Port Authority is just more efficient in its business operations regarding the George Washington Bridge.
Nevertheless, commuters are bracing for this toll increase. They commented that there is nothing that they can do, but pay the new toll. Unfortunately, it seems that this pattern will continue into the near future. The M.T.A will continue to raise tolls and fares and New Yorkers won’t do anything other than pay up as usual. Perhaps, we should start demanding better, more efficient service from our transportation agencies?