MTA Blame Game: The View from Staten Island

Here’s State Senator Andrew Lanza, a Staten Island Republican, explaining why he supports tolls on the East River bridges. For Staten Island drivers looking at a $3 hike in cash tolls to cross the Verrazano (or a $1.32 hike for locals with E-ZPass), the sight of other motorists getting a free pass into Manhattan must be a source of perpetual gall and resentment.

Lanza spends most of this video, however, in standard MTA-bashing mode, lashing out at the agency and unnamed politicians in other boroughs who "support" the doomsday scenario. Not a word about his fellow Senate Republicans, who refused to budge on an MTA rescue package that needed only a few more votes to pass. Lanza himself is on the record opposing the payroll tax in the Ravitch plan, so, by his own logic, you could say he also "supports" higher tolls on the Verrazano.

When you’re about to set off a scenario of mutually assured destruction, the person who blinks first helps everyone win. Lanza could play a big part in walking the State Senate back from the brink of doomsday, and holding down the one-way toll on the Verrazano. All he has to do is reconsider the Ravitch plan and rally a few other Republicans to do the same. Hard to see how anything else would fulfill the promise he makes here to fight the MTA austerity plan "every step of the way." We called his Albany office to inquire about his plan and expect a response later today.

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