SI Advance botches Harrison's toll reduction plan
Earlier this week the Staten Island Advance ran several quotes from various Democratic incumbents throughout the district about what they reported was Stephen Harrison's (D) plan for the Verrazano Bridge toll. In a spate of misinformation and bad reporting they managed to put aside Harrison's plan they reported a day earlier and insert the notion that he wanted to bring back two way toll booths in Staten Island. We ran a story earlier this week comparing Harrison's plan and Fossella suggestion to not make any changes.
On Thursday August 31, Maura Yates of the SI Advance stated:
Meanwhile, Stephen Harrison, the Democratic challenger for the congressional seat, took a different approach to providing relief for local bridge users. Harrison called for eliminating the toll entirely for all Staten Island and Brooklyn residents who live within the 13th Congressional District.
Yet on Friday September 1, Tom Wrobleski of the SI Advance claims;
Staten Island Democratic lawmakers yesterday quickly distanced themselves from congressional candidate Stephen Harrison's proposal to re-institute the two-way toll on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
The bridge had a $267 million surplus in 2005 and Harrison suggests eliminating the toll altogether for residents of the 13th Congressional District (Staten Island and Brooklyn) instead of sending that money to Albany to be divided up amongst the entire state which is what currently happens under Rep. Vito Fossella's oversight. How the Staten Island Advance managed to read between the lines on that and suggest he wanted to go back to two way toll booths is astoundingly astute for the sheer incompetence in their reporting.
Harrison's plan calls for EZpass Express lanes to be designated instead of toll booths currently in use and having the toll waived for residents. These EZPass Express lanes are already in effect in various states, such as this one in Maine;
The new technology allow E-ZPass users to zip through the tolls at 65 miles per hour. Speed toll collection systems are already in use at 18 facilities around the country, including the Pennsylvania turnpike and three toll highways in New Jersey.
Turnpike authority Executive Director Paul Violette said highway speed toll collection will offer convenience and promote efficiency.
The EZPass Express lane is the one on the left where the people in suits are standing for the dedication. Note there are no toll booths and the yellow signs say "Keep Moving".
So Stephen Harrison is suggesting eliminating the toll for residents of the district and implementing a traffic reduction initiative. Rep. Vito Fossella is suggesting no change, and giving the toll money to Albany.