AM Pheffer Amato ensures that rebate program on Cross Bay Bridge will not be impacted by congestion pricing pause

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A week after the MTA halted critical ADA station modernization projects at the Forest Hills and Hollis LIRR stations due to the congestion pricing pause, Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato said it will not impact the 100% rebate program for E-ZPass users on the Cross Bay Bridge.
QNS file photo

In response to Governor Kathy Hochul’s decision earlier this month to indefinitely pause congestion pricing, the MTA ordered contractors to halt ADA modernization projects at two Queens Long Island Rail Road stations in Forest Hills and Hollis. Amid these changes, Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato reassured her constituents that the 100% rebate for E-ZPass customers on the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge would continue without interruption.

Pheffer Amato and State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. were responsible for securing funding for the rebate program on the span that connects the Rockaways to Queens, which is the only inter-county tolled bridge in New York State.

Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato in front of the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge. QNS file photo

“I can confirm that our community, and the entire Borough of Queens, are not going to lose this long-deserved rebate,” Pheffer Amato said on Tuesday, one week after MTA Construction and Development notified contractors to stop all work at the Forest Hills and Hollis LIRR stations.

QNS file photo

The projects would have added ADA-compliant elevators and ramps, and both stations’ platforms were set to be expanded for increased capacity. Just 30% of New York’s 472 subway stops are accessible today, lagging well behind other U.S. and global cities three decades after the Americans with Disabilities Act. The MTA is under a federal court mandate to make 95% of stations accessible by 2055, 31 years from now.

Congestion pricing, which was supposed to begin on Sunday, was expected to be a stable source of revenue that the MTA could tap into for accessibility upgrades in future capital plans. Its postponement leaves a gaping $15 billion hole in the MTA’s capital budget. Pheffer Amato reiterated that the program would continue on the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge, in which the MTA will automatically reimburse Queens residents with E-ZPass on trips they make via the bridge over Jamaica Bay.

“The rebate was not contingent on congestion pricing because, through intense negotiations, the Senator and I obtained the needed funding to make sure this program continues,” she said.