MTA Seeking $750,000 For NYC Marathon Runners To Use Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge

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Heads are butting between the New York City Marathon and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). 

The transit agency is demanding a hefty toll from the organizers of the New York City Marathon for using the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge during the event. The demand, totaling $750,000, has sparked outrage and debate over fair compensation and financial responsibility.

MTA Seeking $750,000 For NYC Marathon Runners To Use Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge 1

The MTA justifies its demand by citing toll revenue losses incurred when the bridge shuts down for the NYC Marathon. It insists that organizers must pay their fair share to cover these losses. Failure to comply, the MTA warns, could result in restrictions on bridge access, potentially reducing the number of participants in the race.

Negotiations between the MTA and the New York Road Runners, the organization behind the marathon, have been ongoing for months. 

The NYC Marathon, a cornerstone event in the city’s calendar, draws over 50,000 runners annually and injects over $425 million into the local economy. Despite the MTA’s insistence on reimbursement, marathon organizers argue that the event benefits the city and the transit system overall.

Vegan new york marathon runners huge crowd

Critics of the MTA’s demand point to the transit agency’s broader financial woes, including significant revenue losses from fare and toll evasion, which totaled $690 million in 2022 alone.

Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella expressed frustration, suggesting that the MTA could recoup the amount demanded by better enforcing existing laws.

Initially threatening to limit runners to the lower deck of the Verrazzano Bridge, the MTA later compromised by offering organizers the choice between the upper and lower levels. However, this concession comes with implications for the marathon’s logistics, as using both levels has been a tradition for the past 36 years.

New York Road Runners, which reported a total income of $100.2 million last fiscal year, has resisted the MTA’s demands and appealed to Governor Kathy Hochul to intervene. They argue that the MTA’s insistence on full reimbursement overlooks the marathon’s significant contributions to the city’s economy and tourism.

MTA Seeking $750,000 For NYC Marathon Runners To Use Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge 2

In a letter to Governor Hochul, CEO Rob Simmelkjaer stressed the organization’s willingness to cooperate but emphasized the need for fair negotiations. Marathon organizers have already agreed to increase payments to the MTA, offering $200,000 for this year’s race in addition to other forms of support.

Runners and advocates alike have weighed in on the dispute, with some expressing concern over potential barriers to participation and others questioning the MTA’s financial priorities.

Despite suggestions that New York City Marathon runners could cover the toll through a modest increase in entry fees, the MTA’s demand’s broader implications remain a subject of heated debate.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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