Pheffer Amato Successfully Defends “Rockaway Rebate:” “Next Year, We Must Make the Bridge Free for All”

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway) today thanked Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Leadership of both houses “for their leadership in continuing, for another year, the ‘Rockaway Rebate,’” which reimburses Rockaway Peninsula and Broad Channel residents for trips across the Cross Bay Bridge to and from mainland Queens. “This rebate program is crucial for our residents, a no-brainer for our economy, and the very least New York State can do to deal with the unfairness of the only same-borough toll in NYC.

“Meanwhile, residents of Southern Queens often need to pay a two-way toll to work, go shopping or meet friends or family mere minutes from their house,” she continued. “Not to mention, the inequitable and outmoded toll keeps tourists from easy access to New York City’s only real extended beachfront, costing us millions every year in tourism. This toll is outmoded, has outlived its original stated purpose of paying for the bridge, and hinders the economy.

“That’s why I am calling for this toll to be completely abolished in next year’s State Budget,” Pheffer Amato said. “I submitted a budget request this year for the Rockaway Rebate to at least apply to all Queens residents, but the toll doesn’t make sense and our goal is to do away with it for good.

“Intra-borough tolls don’t make sense. Tolls to drive five miles to work, play, pray or shop don’t make sense. I’m absolutely certain the cost of ending this inequitable, onerous toll would be made up several times over the freedom and ease of access it would bring to the Rockaway Peninsula,” the Assemblywoman concluded.