Bridges Over Troubled Waters Will Still Cost You: MTA and Port Authority Keep Tolls in Place During Frankenstorm

Rain, rain, go away, spare the Rockaways be. (Kit Dillon)

A mandatory evacuation from the Rockaways will still cost you $3.25.

The mayor announced earlier today that all city employees are expected to come into work today at the discretion of their departments. The same goes for a few unlucky MTA and Port Authority employees manning the city’s bridges. While weather conditions may become so severe that the bridges have to be shut down, for now, the toll booths are manned, and tolls remain in effect. For once, the banks are being kinder than the toll man.

Both the MTA and the Port Authority are still collecting tolls at all their crossings. The MTA actually sees this as a sign of calm, go-about-your-business, all-is-relatively normal life. If the tolls were gone, then we would be in some seriously deep shit. It also seems possible that a toll holiday could encourage people to drive who are not trying to escape. This could lead to congestion and people out on the roads who might not otherwise be, which could put them in harms way.

Out on The Gil Hodges-Marine Parkway Bridge, which connects the Rockaways with Brooklyn, The Observer encountered two lonely toll booth attendants. They were still taking the allotted $3.25 from any and all evacuees who had not already fled the barrier island, where there are concerns that the entire place will be overrun as the ocean meets the Jamaica Bay.

We asked one toll collector what she would do when she was finished her shift.  She shrugged and replied, “Well, I can’t get home tonight.  The bridge will probably be closed. I guess I’ll probably sleep in the booth…or my car.”