The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that split toll collection will take effect at 12 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1, in accordance with Federal law and approval by the MTA Board. As a result of the change, tolls will be collected in both the Staten Island- and Brooklyn-bound directions with the toll charged to motorists entering Staten Island and Brooklyn cut in half to $2.75 for Staten Island residents, $1.70 for Staten Island carpool customers, $6.12 for E-ZPass users, $9.50 for Tolls by Mail. The overall toll for a round trip and the Staten Island resident discount remain unchanged.
The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge had been the country’s only bridge with federally-mandated one-direction tolling for more than three decades until Congress amended the directive. Split-tolling is expected to reduce the number of regional motorists cutting through Staten Island – estimated at 7,000 per weekday pre-pandemic – to take advantage of the previously free eastbound direction. The one-way and round-trip toll rates will match those at the Hugh L. Carey and Queens-Midtown Tunnels and Bronx-Whitestone, Robert F. Kennedy and Throgs Neck Bridges.
“The restoration of split tolling will end a 30-year loophole in New York City that will help alleviate congestion on Staten Island while improving the environment,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye. “I thank Reps. Max Rose, Jerry Nadler and Nydia Velazquez, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and the entire New York Congressional delegation for making this reform a reality.”
“Just as we did three years ago during the transition to open road tolling, we are going to ensure the transition back to split tolling at the Verrazzano is as smooth and seamless as possible,” said Daniel F. DeCrescenzo, Jr., President of MTA Bridges and Tunnels. “With our current open road tolling technology, motorists will see little to no change in traffic flow as they travel under the new eastbound (Brooklyn-bound) tolling gantries.”
Congressman Max Rose said: “I promised to do everything I can to end my constituents’ commuting nightmare and with split tolling we’ll see fewer out of state cars and trucks clogging up our expressway at no cost to residents. I’m proud to have worked with leaders from both parties and all levels of government to make this a reality and look forward to seeing the positive impact for our community.”
“After more than two decades working on this issue, it is a momentous day to finally see the return of split-tolling on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “The restoration of split-tolling will greatly improve traffic and congestion in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, while also capturing much needed new funding for the MTA from out-of-state trucks, which no longer will avoid a toll entering New York City via Staten Island or dodge tolls on the Hudson River Bridge and tunnel crossings. All New Yorkers will reap the benefits of the restoration of two-way toll collection, from cleaner air, to reduced wear and tear on our bridges and tunnels and fewer trucks on the Staten Island Expressway, Gowanus Expressway, Manhattan Bridge and Canal & Broome Streets in Lower Manhattan. I applaud my colleagues, Congressman Rose and Congresswoman Velázquez who championed this effort with me in Congress.”
Assemblyman Charles D. Fall said: “I applaud the MTA for working with my colleagues and I to assure that the split toll proposal was made a reality for the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. This is one step towards bringing accessible and affordable transportation to Staten Island and will help us to better maintain our infrastructure. I look forward to working with the MTA on other priority projects, such as the North Shore Right-Of-Way in the near future.”
The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is among the busiest bridges in the country, logging more than 215,000 vehicular crossings on weekdays prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new split-toll changes take effect on Tuesday, Dec. 1:
|Passenger Vehicles||Toll in each direction,|
|Current Staten Island-bound toll|
|E-ZPass (NY CSC)||$6.12||$12.24|
|Tolls by Mail||$9.50||$19.00|
|Staten Island Resident E-ZPass effective, post rebate toll||$2.75||$5.50|
|Staten Island Resident Carpool Plan HOV E-ZPass||$1.70||$3.40|
New signs are being placed in the eastbound and westbound directions and the MTA has notified navigation apps including Google, Waze, Apple, and TomTom.
Tolls have been collected in only the westbound direction since March 20, 1986, under a federal law that aimed to halve stop-and-go traffic at Staten Island toll booths at a time before E-ZPass, and resulting backups. Instead, the law has long been blamed for worsening traffic citywide by encouraging New Jersey-bound motorists and truckers to avoid the doubled toll by taking a lengthy, congested route over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Manhattan Bridge and Canal Street to reach the westbound toll-free Holland Tunnel. At the same time, the one-way tolling was seen as increasing traffic through Staten Island by inviting out-of-state truckers to use the Staten Island Expressway for free travel toward Brooklyn, Long Island and New England.
E-ZPass began reducing traffic congestion in 1996, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge’s remaining toll booths were decommissioned in July 2017 as MTA Bridges and Tunnels transitioned to Open Road Tolling. The one-way double-tolling mandate was repealed last year by legislation sponsored by Representative Rose.
The work builds on a broad range of initiatives undertaken by the MTA in recent years to improve commute times for Staten Islanders. The authority has instituted a seventh lane on the bridge — a reversible HOV lane — and added cashless tolling. Staten Island was also the first borough to undergo a wholesale overhaul and modernization of its express bus network, in 2018, an undertaking that has resulted in faster bus speeds and more efficient service throughout the borough.
Motorists looking for more detail can visit the MTA’s web page, at https://new.mta.info/vnb-split-tolling.
MTA Press Release November 9th, 2020