Here we go again: MTA proposes increased tolls for Verrazano

Did Staten Island businesses not have enough costs to deal with already? Guess the Metropolitan Transportation Authority didn’t think so when it proposed its recent toll increases. Either that, or it just doesn’t care.

Citing increased costs such as debt service, pensions, energy and employee health care, the MTA proposed rate increases on public transportation it runs throughout the city, including the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The proposal seeks to increase fares for Staten Island residents by slightly more than 10 percent, from $5.76 to $6.36 for drivers with E-ZPass and from $7.72 to $8.53 for those without it. Non-residents would see an increase from $9.60 to $10.60 with E-ZPass and $13 to $15 without.

But, hey, don’t worry, it’s not the MTA’s fault; the organization has worked hard to cut back, decreasing what it calls “controllable” costs by a whopping 0.3% year over year.

Give us a break. Literally.

Multiple local and state representatives have called the MTA’s proposal “outrageous” in regard to how it would affect Staten Island, and we couldn’t agree more.

The MTA’s toll hikes alone would hamper business on Staten Island. Taken together with the Port Authority’s increases, it’s a total killer.

Staten Islanders don’t have a choice but to pay to get on and off the Island. It’s a fact of life here, and one that we all accept. But to ask us to constantly incur higher and higher costs to operate here is not fair, particularly when a majority of the money we’re spending to travel isn’t coming back to our borough in the form of re-investment. Instead, it’s going to other parts of the city.

Shouldn’t the MTA, with the help of the state, do everything it can to stimulate business on the Island? We think so. If you agree, let your voice be heard. The MTA is holding a public hearing on the increases on November 14 at the College of Staten Island.