Letter to MTA Chairman Lhota

November 7, 2012

Mr. Joseph J. Lhota
Chairman and CEO
347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017-3739

Chairman Lhota:

I am greatly disturbed by a report in the media I have read today that the MTA is considering yet another toll increase for the Verrazano Bridge.

Staten Island has long been supporting the infrastructure of the MTA through exorbitant tolls on the Verrazano Bridge for close to half a century. Furthermore, Staten Islanders are forced to pay these high tolls since we cannot leave our Island nor travel throughout New York City without crossing a bridge. These tolls further increase the cost of commerce for our business community, directly impacting their suppliers and customers. In return, our toll money reduces the cost of services on the New York City subways and Long Island Rail Road and yet Staten Island does not have anything that vaguely resembles a reliable and effective public transportation system. In fact, our meager public transit options have been cut by the MTA and, in recent years Staten Islanders still have not seen full restoration of our express bus service.

With the increase in Port Authority tolls last year and the excessive cost to our residents to get off of Staten Island, all of these increases are crippling to our community and our businesses.

In a time of fiscal belt tightening, another round of toll increases should not be the first consideration for balancing the budget. I implore the MTA to find revenue neutral solutions that will permit it to operate without once again reaching in to the pockets of toll paying Staten Islanders. I look forward to hearing from you on this critical matter affecting Staten Islanders.

Michael Cusick
Member of Assembly