By Howard Koplowitz
U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village) reminded Gov. Andrew Cuomo of his Queens roots after writing the governor in an effort to end the toll on the Cross Bay Bridge.
Then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani instituted a rebate program in 1997 for Broad Channel and Rockaway residents who used the Cross Bay Bridge that gave residents a $2.26 rebate on their E-ZPass statements each time they made a round trip.
But in July 2010, citing budget woes, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority partially rescinded the rebate, only reimbursing residents after they made one round trip in a day.
“Quite simply, the toll is a discriminatory fee against Queens’ residents,” Turner wrote to Cuomo. “It forces them to pay a toll to travel from one part of the borough to another. It is a dubious and expensive distinction that my constituents who commute to New York City, who visit friends and family in Queens, and who travel throughout the area have to pay this toll.”
Turner referred to Cuomo’s roots to the borough — he grew up in Hollis — in the letter.
“You and I were raised in Queens. We understand and appreciate the area’s wonderful cultural and geographical diversity, particularly along the coastal areas in the Rockways,” Turner wrote. “I am sure that you would agree that this geographical diversity should not come at an unfair cost to the residents of the borough.
“I ask you to make this a top priority on your agenda for relieving the economic burden on the citizens of my district,” Turner said. “I look forward to working with you and other elected officials as we try to end the toll.”
The congressman’s letter comes three weeks after state Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) appealed to MTA Executive Director Joseph Lhota to get rid of the toll.
The toll was implemented to pay for construction of the bridge, which has long been paid off.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.