Staten Island, NY. (March 4, 2013)  – In the wake of toll hikes recently implemented by the MTA, members of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce will travel to Albany to take the issue to state lawmakers.

LINDA BARAN: CEO and president of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.

Tomorrow,  Chamber President and CEO Linda M. Baran, Director of Government Affairs Mary McLaughlin, and a contingent of chamber board and committee members, and business owners, will push for relief from Sunday’s hike.

“The Chamber has been very clear in its position on tolls – that regional equity is essential for competition and economic growth. Until Staten Island’s unique position is taken into account and viable transportation alternatives are offered, our local economy will continue to suffer,” Ms. Baran stated in preparation for the trip.

The Chamber’s delegation will meet with high ranking economic development and transportation representatives from Governor Cuomo’s office. They will also meet with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assembly Transportation Chairman David Gantt, representatives of Senator Fuschillo, who is the Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Assemblyman Brennan, Chairman of the Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions Committee.


The contingent is also meeting with locally elected officials Assemblyman Michael Cusick, Assemblyman Matthew Titone, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, Assemblyman Joseph Borelli, Senator Diane Savino and Senator Andrew Lanza regarding transportation and tolls.

This upcoming trip to Albany marks yet another step in the chamber’s advocacy efforts against tolls in the 17 months since the Port Authority of NY and NJ implemented a series of hikes on its Hudson River crossings.

Since that time, the chamber has organized a toll rally in the shadow of the Bayonne Bridge, met with Port Authority director Patrick Foye, testified at multiple public hearings, traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with Federal transportation officials, helped advocate in support of a residential toll discount for commuters, and initiated dialogues with locally elected officials and MTA representatives.

These efforts, while informative and essential for keeping the lines of communication open for Staten Island’s small businesses, have not resulted in relief. The chamber maintains that ever-increasing tolls affect Staten Island’s community disproportionately, and relief and equity are needed in order to keep Staten Island open for business.

For more information regarding the chamber’s Albany trip, please contact the chamber at (718) 727-1900.

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