Several elected officials from both sides of the bridge say they are boycotting today’s 50th anniversary celebration for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, due to the MTA’s proposed fare hike, which would raise the bridge’s cash toll to $16.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Staten Island Borough President James Oddo are among those who said they won’t attend stating, “there is nothing to celebrate until our city’s commuters can finally receive the Verrazano toll relief that they deserve.”
Also boycotting the event are Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, Senator Marty Golden, and Deputy Leader Councilman Vincent Gentile.
The MTA released this statement in response:
The MTA is disappointed that several elected officials have chosen not to attend the celebration for the 50th anniversary of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the engineering and architectural marvel that for the first time united all of New York City’s five boroughs for all drivers across America’s longest vehicular suspension bridge.
The round-trip toll at the Verrazano is exactly the same as the round-trip toll to cross all major MTA Bridges and Tunnels crossings, and the proposed 4 percent increase is applied exactly the same across all those crossings.
Councilman Gentile is also upset that there will be no commemoratory events in Bay Ridge, saying the MTA has rebuffed all of his suggestions to include the southwest Brooklyn neighborhood.
One of Gentile’s suggestions was to eliminate the bridge toll for the bridge’s anniversary, or at least reduce it to 50 cents, which was the fee the day the bridge opened.
“The MTA completely ignored Bay Ridge in this historic half-century celebration of a bridge we share with Staten Island,” Gentile said. “I found that to be ill-advised and unacceptable, especially in light of the fact that we were denied a celebratory procession across the bridge as was done for the 25th Anniversary.”
A spokesperson for the MTA said there will be a Verrazano Bridge exhibit in Brooklyn at the Transit Museum, cannons will be fired today from the Brooklyn side, and two groups of schoolchildren from Brooklyn participated in art and photography projects for the event.