Harrison on eliminating tolls on the Verrazano
via the Staten Island Advance;
Staten Island's two congressional candidates presented dueling proposals yesterday for the best use of toll revenue generated by the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge "cash cow."
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. Such a move would provide more cohesion for district constituents, he said.
State law requires congressional districts to be "compact, contiguous, and convenient," Harrison said, adding "those three things do not exist when you have a $9 toll separating this district."
Fossella's camp dismissed Harrison's idea as unlikely, but Harrison said he thinks it could work, and would rather be known for his willingness to dream big rather than continue to saddle Staten Island and Brooklyn commuters with one of the nation's highest bridge tolls.
The $9 toll incurred by Staten Islanders brought in a $267 million surplus is 2005. For his part Rep. Vito Fossella suggested using half of the surplus for transportation initatives in the district.
Fossella said he plans to introduce a bill to amend the National Highway System Designation Act to require 50 percent of the Verrazano surplus to be earmarked for the two boroughs.
It is great to know the Fossella knows how to introduce bills in Congress because there are a handful of things his constituents could use his help on;
Better paying jobs: 15% of Staten Island makes less than $25,000 per household
Eliminating poverty; 9% of Staten Island lives in poverty
Healthcare support for our troops; 20% of reservists do not have basic health insurance