“Expanding the rebate program to all Queens residents is a complete economic game changer for our communities, allowing freedom and ease of access to the entire borough,” said Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato.
The Rockaway Resident Rebate program at the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge (CBB) will be expanded to all Queens residents starting in spring of 2020.
The funding to expand the program was secured during the 2019-20 budget negotiations, utilizing the Outer Borough Transportation Account, which was established as part of the surcharge on for-hire vehicles passed last year.
Currently, Rockaway and Broad Channel residents are rebated after each trip on the CBB by the MTA. Vehicles must be registered with E-ZPass to a valid resident address in Rockaway or Broad Channel.
In order to be eligible for the expanded rebate requires a valid E-ZPass tag mounted in a vehicle registered to a valid resident address in Queens. This program is only available to passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles are not eligible.
“The thorn in the side of the Rockaway’s full economic potential is finally being removed,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo. “Once the toll is fully reimbursed for Queens residents, individuals can freely enjoy the Rockaway’s beaches, work in Rockaway, access the ferry services, and eat at its restaurants without the additional financial burden.”
In 1939, the New York City Parkway Authority built the first Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge.
In 1970, the Triborough Bridge Authority completed the current CBB, which was made taller to allow ships to pass under it.
The toll on new bridge was implemented originally only to cover the cost of the new improvements and started at 10 cents a trip, but it has since skyrocketed to over $4.
“I feel like I’ve won the lottery!” said Paula Vicari, a Howard Beach resident who works on the Rockaway Peninsula. “Over the years, I have spent thousands of dollars crossing over the bridge to bring my children to school and traveling to work.”
But some called for the state to go even further.
“I never confuse good with perfect,” said Dee Tubridy, owner of Bungalow Bar. “The perfect situation is to have the toll eliminated completely for all New York State residents, only then will the full economic impact be felt across the entire peninsula.“