IN THE NEWS - Staten Island Advance: Lanza, Cusick: Staten Island is 'close' to a Verrazano-Narrows Bridge discount deal

Andrew J Lanza

June 25, 2013

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The legislative session ended in Albany over the weekend without a deal for a toll break on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

But Staten Island negotiators haven't given up hope -- yet.

"I'm optimistic," Assemblyman Michael Cusick said, revealing early in the day Monday that local lawmakers were still trying to work something out via phone with Cuomo administration staffers. "I think we are close to something."

"I think we are very, very close," agreed state Sen. Andrew Lanza. "I really do."

Last week, Cusick and Lanza said they hoped to ink an agreement by the time the session ended and lawmakers left town.

But phone calls traded late Monday afternoon among Cusick (D-Mid-Island), Lanza (R-Staten Island), state Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) and members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's staff apparently yielded little.

Cusick and Lanza tried to get a deal done during budget negotiations back in March, but at the last minute talks stalled.

At the time, the two lawmakers said they were told by the governor's people an accommodation for toll relief would be reached by June.

The original deal on the table would have sliced the toll for Staten Island-based commercial entities by around half and cut the

E-ZPass resident discount to $5.50 from its current $6.

"Our negotiations are continuing," said Ms. Savino.

By Judy L. Randall on June 24, 2013 at 2:10 PM, updated June 25, 2013 at 9:59 AM