Stacey Pheffer Amato Calls for Toll-Free Taste of Rockaway

Assembly candidate Pheffer Amato writes TBTA urging suspension of Cross Bay Bridge Toll during popular Taste of Rockaway festival

 Pheffer Amato, local business owner and Taste of Rockaway participant, cites event’s growing popularity, ongoing recovery from Superstorm Sandy in historic request

 

Rockaway Beach, Queens – In an effort to support the popular Taste of Rockaway food festival, candidate for State Assembly Stacey Pheffer Amato is asking the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for a one-day suspension to the unpopular Cross Bay Bridge toll charged to motorists visiting the beachside community.

 

“Taste of Rockaway has become a symbol of our community’s recovery and resiliency from Superstorm Sandy. This great festival showcases our best local, family-owned restaurants and helps generate much-needed economic activity,” said candidate for Assembly Stacey Pheffer Amato. “By suspending the toll on the Cross Bay Bridge during Taste of Rockaway, the MTA can send a strong message that it supports small businesses in this community and is committed to our long-term recovery.”

 

In a letter to MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Donald Spero, Pheffer Amato called for a “one-time moratorium” on toll collection for the Cross Bay Bridge linking the Rockaway Peninsula to the rest of Queens during the Taste of Rockaway festival. According to Pheffer Amato, the toll discourages visitors to the popular festival and stifles the community’s ongoing recovery from Superstorm Sandy. The revenues generated by the festival and its promotion of local businesses would far outweigh the day’s loss in tolls, Pheffer Amato argues.

 

First held in 2013 in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Taste of Rockaway is a twice annual festival that allows foodies of all ages to sample the products of the Rockaway Beach community’s local restaurants. During the last Taste of Rockaway held in May, more than 18 vendors participated in an event that brought out nearly 2,000 people. The next Taste of Rockaway is expected to be held in December.

 

With her request, Pheffer Amato offers a novel solution to one of the central issues of the race for the Assembly’s 23rd District in Southern Queens and Rockaway. In 2012, outgoing Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, who has endorsed Pheffer Amato, secured a rebate program in the state budget to reimburse residents of Rockaway and Broad Channel for their tolls on the bridge. Still, many in the community continue to see the toll as a burden and a barrier to economic growth, particularly since Sandy wreaked havoc on local businesses.

 

“The Cross Bay Bridge toll is nothing more than a barrier that divides our community and deprives us of needed economic growth following Sandy,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “I was proud to bring back the residency rebate and I applaud Stacey Pheffer Amato for her new proposal to encourage residents from across the city to enjoy our popular Taste of Rockaway festival. Our restaurants and family-owned small businesses rely on visitors and we must do everything we can to encourage travel to our beautiful community.”

 

“Our Taste of Rockaway event has grown annually since its inception after Hurricane Sandy. Removing the toll on the Cross Bay Bridge will greatly enhance the events participation and make it even more accessible to those outside of the Rockaways.” said Robert Kaskel, President of Rockaway Union

 

“You can’t hold an event that essentially says ‘Rockaway is open for business,’ but then charge people just to get in the door. That defeats the purpose of an event like Taste of Rockaway and the MTA should be a community partner, not a burden to our recovery,”concluded Pheffer Amato.

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Rockaway Beach, Queens – In an effort to support the popular Taste of Rockaway food festival, candidate for State Assembly Stacey Pheffer Amato is asking the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for a one-day suspension to the unpopular Cross Bay Bridge toll charged to motorists visiting the beachside community.

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