While there's no doubt that the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is an impressive feat of engineering that helped integrate Staten Island with the City of New York, I find it difficult to participate in a celebration just days after the MTA announced yet another toll increase. This announcement has made this celebration bittersweet and, after much thought and discussion with my colleagues, I have decided not to join the celebration.
A bridge that was meant to open a transportation corridor and spur economic growth now chokes many of us with the highest tolls in the country. These tolls continue to increase with no end in sight, while our public transportation options on Staten Island remain woefully inadequate. Funding for the North Shore right-of-way and West Shore light rail is long overdue, leaving us stuck in the past, courtesy of a lack of vision from the MTA.
I wish the bridge a happy golden anniversary, and I salute those who, decades ago, had the foresight and will to accomplish this monumental project. I also look forward to working with my fellow elected officials and MTA representatives in fighting for better transportation options for my constituents.