“Let me be clear, the Rockaway Resident Rebate cannot be cut or eliminated under any circumstance. No way, no how,” Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato said.
By Forum Staff
Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato and State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (both D-Howard Beach) recently submitted recorded testimony to the members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board during its meeting.
The testimony addressed the MTA’s latest plans to cut programs such as the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge Rockaway Resident Rebate to address its budget deficit, and called on the federal government to provide relief to the financially struggling authority due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let me be clear, the Rockaway Resident Rebate cannot be cut or eliminated under any circumstance. No way, no how,” Pheffer Amato said. “Many of my constituents would face severe economic hardship due to the amount of times they have to cross that bridge to conduct their daily lives. My constituents use the bridge to drop their kids off at school, visit their families, go to the doctor, or go to and from work. Instead of cutting the program, the federal government must step up and provide the MTA with much needed economic relief. Our region accounts for 10 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, and the MTA makes sure our economy stays on track. There would be a disastrous financial impact on my constituents, this region, and this country quite frankly if the MTA does not get the relief it needs.”
The MTA is facing historic budget deficits, and as a solution they have proposed cutting the Rockaway Resident Rebate for the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge, and the Staten Island Resident rebate for the Verrazano Bridge. The Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge is the only tolled intra-borough crossing in the entire state. The toll on the bridge originated with a 10-cent toll, and has grown to more than $4 for motorists without an EZ-Pass. To stave off the elimination of these programs, prevent service cuts and thousands of layoffs, and preserve the MTA’s upcoming Capital Plan, the MTA has requested $12 Billion in federal relief money.
“Many of my constituents rely on the MTA to get to their jobs and access different parts of the borough, such as those on the geographically isolated Rockaway Peninsula,” Addabbo said. “My concern is that if the MTA does not get the federal funding, it may have to seriously consider raising fares on riders who are already suffering financially from the COVID-19 pandemic with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers unemployed.”