- Associated Press - Sunday, September 21, 2014

The prospect for higher tolls to cover the cost of replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge was a hot button for drivers interviewed last week in Tarrytown, near the east side of the span. Here’s what some told Associated Press writer Jim Fitzgerald:

Gracia Rescigno, Suffern (Rockland County), takes the bridge daily from her home in Suffern to her job as a hospital clerk in the Bronx. “It’s killing me already. Every time I hear about the toll I get agita. You hear $14, you hear $20. But I’m stuck. I can’t afford it but I can’t afford to move either. The George Washington Bridge is a nightmare. There’s nothing I can do.”

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Rich Acocella, 60, a music producer from Manchester Township, New Jersey, takes the bridge every couple of months en route to New England: “There should be no toll. The whole idea of it stinks. They always tell you there will be a toll until it’s paid for but they never take down the toll. Fifty years this bridge has been here and the toll just keeps going up.”

Would a $14 toll make him look elsewhere? “Probably not, but what do people do who take it every day? Some people don’t make $14 an hour. They’ll spend five hours a week of hard labor just to pay to get over the bridge.”

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Barbara Pickert, a Tarrytown interior designer, takes the bridge “pretty often, not every day”: “This bridge is vital, really. … I don’t think people would be thrown if it went to $7. But you go higher than that, make it too expensive, you might kill Rockland County, strangle the economy. The same for Woodbury Commons and the Catskills. This is the bridge people use to get there. … At the very least they should make sure there is a discount for commuters, for the people who use it every day.”

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Marjorie Alvarez, 45, a phlebotomist from Tarrytown: “They should leave it the way it is. The tolls are going up but the paycheck never does. … My guess is if it goes too high you’ll see crowding on the Bear Mountain Bridge.”

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Rudy Zelada, Ossining, takes the bridge occasionally to shop at the Palisades Center mall in Rockland: “If it goes to $6, I’m going to be thinking about the Bear Mountain Bridge or looking for someplace else to shop.”

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Amanda Chavez, a White Plains court translator: “It’s going to be $12 to $14 and that’s going to be very hard on a lot of people. I don’t take it every day but people do. I might cut down my trips too, not go to the Palisades (Center).”

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Constantinos Lycoyamis, an Elmsford retiree: “Why is there a toll at all? People have a right to travel on the roads. Our taxes pay for the roads and they should pay for the bridge. It should all come from everyone’s income taxes, then it would be fair.”

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