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Schumer bill would protect toll discount for Grand Island residents

Photo by Ashley Hassett
US Senator Charles Schumer speaks at the South Grand Island Bridge

By Ashley Hassett

Tonawanda, NY – U.S. Senator Charles Schumer says he is reintroducing a bill that would protect the discount Grand Island residents receive when crossing the Grand Island bridges.

At a news conference near the base of the South bridge in Tonawanda Thursday, Schumer said the discounts Grand Island residents receive are threatened by court cases elsewhere seeking to invalidate such benefits.

"Grand Islanders leave the Island and pay tolls on a daily basis for work and more, and without residential toll discounts this would be a huge financial burden," Schumer said. "With no other way to drive off the Island except via bridges and their tolls, Grand Islanders deserve a break, and through this legislation we can guarantee that these fair and essential residential discount programs will hold up in court."

The four Grand Island bridges each cost 1$ toll for non-residents, and 9 cents for Grand Island residents. If this residential discount program didn't exist, residents of the Island would face a massive and burdensome increase in toll rates. Currently an Island resident who commutes back and forth from the Island every week day for work would spend $23.40 on tolls per year. If the residential toll discount were eliminated, that same commuter would suddenly face a toll burden of $260.

In court cases across the country, plaintiffs are alleging that the discount fare programs are unconstitutional.