Staten Island, NY. May 8, 2012 – In the wake of toll hikes recently implemented by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, members of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce will travel to Washington D.C. to take the toll plight to federal lawmakers. Every year, the Chamber sends a delegation to Washington DC to advocate on behalf of Staten Island’s businesses. This year, the focus will be solely on tolls.
On May 9th and 10th, President and CEO Linda Baran, Government Affairs Director Mary McLaughlin, and a contingent of Chamber members, including Chairman of the Board Solomon Chemo of Richmond Group Wealth Advisors, Small Business Committee Co-Chair Annamarie Gentile of Angiuli & Gentile LLP., Robert Fitzsimmons of Gateway Arms Realty Corp. and Stephen Margarella of Margarella Industrial Construction Corp., will push for relief from last September’s hike.
“It is the single largest issue facing Staten Island’s economy, and relief from further proposed increases is imperative to keep businesses and jobs from fleeing the Island,” Baran said.
Meetings have been secured with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Congressman Michael Grimm (R, C-NY), staff members handling transportation issues for Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). There will also be a joint meeting with U.S. Department of Transportation officials Victor Mendez (Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration), David Matsuda (Administrator of the Maritime Administration), and Dana Gresham (Assistant Secretary for Governmental Affairs), regarding transportation and tolls.
At these meetings, the Chamber will discuss the impact of high tolls on Staten Island’s businesses, pending transportation legislation, and will present a letter sent to Governor Cuomo this week signed by Staten Island business groups and our local federal, state, and city elected representatives.
This month’s trip is another effort by the Chamber to advocate on behalf of the business community. Recent initiatives organized by the Chamber include a rally held in the shadow of the Bayonne Bridge, where business owners and residents came out in protest against the increase; sit down meetings with Port Authority Director Patrick Foye and Empire State Development President Ken Adams; a letter recently sent to Governor Cuomo lambasting high tolls and asking for assistance; and a meeting with Congressman Grimm, who promised to continue fighting for a legislative solution at the federal level.
“Staten Island’s business community is now at a severe competitive disadvantage,” Baran said. “The cards are stacked against these businesses in this tough economy, and a toll hike does nothing to help their situation. We’re heading to Washington with the letter signed by business groups and elected officials to show a united front in our quest for fair and equitable tolls.”
For more information regarding the Chamber’s D.C. trip, please contact the Chamber at (718) 727-1900.
Categories: Chamber Blog