Officials Slam NYC Marathon Organizers with $750K Bill for Verrazzano Bridge Usage

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The New York City Marathon, the largest and highest-profile marathon in the world, is held every year.

What would you do as a representative of the New York City Transit Agency? You’ll have to try to get them to give you $750,000 for the toll revenue they claim is lost by closing the Verrazzano Bridge during the endurance test. The bridge has been used by runners for 36 years. According to organizers, a report claims that the spectacle generates $427 million in tourism, taxes, and economic activity. They argue this should compensate for the lost revenue from tolls.

My first thought was the bridge normally pulls in $750,000 in a relatively short time?! Wow. No wonder living in Manhattan is so expensive.

One outlet found that the MTA made $1.1 million more in revenue on the race day of 2023 due to the record ridership.

Officials of the race claim that such a large fee would have negative effects on their event.

Crystal Howard, the spokesperson for the organization in an email, stated that the impact of the MTA’s proposal would be a material change in the cost structure, and would result in a rise to the amount runners pay to run the Marathon. This would make it less affordable to local runners as well as those who come to New York City to run, both of whom contribute hundreds and millions of dollars to New York City and the State’s economies.

She stated that the MTA has not provided the data requested by the organization to support their claim of $750,000 in revenue lost.

Ironically, critics say, the city can also easily make up for lost toll revenues: why not enforce a law now and again?

Critics slammed MTA critics for giving the Marathon a run for its money. The system lost $690,000,000 in 2022 due to toll and fare evasion, with $46,000,000 in toll dodging on bridges, tunnels, and other structures.

The Post reported that Staten Island Borough president Vito Fossella said, “They could find the money in just nine hours if enforced the law.”

The city has not budged yet, and even used hard-ball tactics, such as refusing to allow the marathon to access one of the decks on the bridge if it doesn’t cough up the money:

The MTA threatened to only allow runners who begin the Staten Island Marathon to use the lower deck of the bridge if the organizers didn’t pay.

In recent weeks, officials have backtracked a little, saying that marathon organizers can choose between the higher or lower levels for the race, but not both.

Why would NYC make such a poor attempt to squeeze out nearly one million dollars from an event that brings them worldwide attention and hundreds of millions of revenue? Maybe they are stretched thin because of Biden’s illegal immigration crisis.

The organizers are asking Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), to please step up and assist. It’s not good for the Big Apple and looks like another money-grabbing scheme by a blue city.