Thursday, July 15, 2010

MTA Takes Its Toll on Broad Channel, Rockaway

Starting Friday, July 23, residents living in Broad Channel and the remaining zip codes encompassing Rockaway will have to pay when they travel across the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Because of a modification to the Rockaway Toll Rebate program, residents in the zip codes 11691, 11692, 11693, 11694, 11695 and 11697 will pay $1.13 per trip, compared to $2.75 for cash customers and $1.71 for non-resident EZ Pass customers.

Rockaway residents also have the option of purchasing tokens, which cost $1.54 per trip.

Residents will pay the reduced rates for each of the first two trips across the bridge however, subsequent trips taken in the same day on the same E-Z Pass tag will continue to be rebated to the account under the Cross Bay Resident Rebate program.

Council member Eric Ulrich (R- Ozone Park) says his constituents, already struggling in a difficult economic climate, are being unfairly taxed. “I am outraged by the MTA’s most recent attempt to balance their books on the backs of Broad Channel and Rockaway residents,” declared Ulrich. “The MTA must get serious about its own inefficiencies and poor accounting practices before they reach into the pockets of people just trying to travel around their own community.”

The rebate plan only applies to passenger vehicles and not to commercial trucks, motorcycles, taxis, buses or limousines. The change in service was approved by the MTA Board in March and is intended to help the beleaguered agency close a nearly $800 million budget deficit.

In 2009, 3.6 million trips were taken by residents participating in the Cross Bay Resident Rebate program.

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