A bill to correct the spelling of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge that just passed the state Senate may come at a cost – despite what the bill’s sponsor says.
“If the bill passes and is ultimately signed into law it would cost the MTA roughly $350,000 to replace 96 signs of varying sizes,” said Chris McKniff, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Bridge and Tunnel division.
That’s despite the text of state Senate bill S419a saying that it would have no fiscal implications to the state. The bill language says that the bridge’s name “should be corrected immediately especially considering there will be no cost to the State.”
The bridge is named for Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano (with two Zs). The bridge has been “Verrazano” (with one Z) since it was erected in the 1960s.
State Sen. Marty Golden, a Republican who represents the Brooklyn-side of the span, introduced the bill last year after a constituent started a petition to correct the spelling. State Sen. Andrew Lanza, a fellow Republican who represents the Staten Island side, is a co-sponsor.
Golden’s spokesman John Quaglione told City & State that the bill wouldn’t cost anything because the signs would only be corrected when they were going to be replaced anyway, from normal wear and tear or toll increases.
“I’m sure in the not-too-distant future they’ll be putting up a new sign with a new toll price on it,” Quaglione said.
Asked for clarification, McKniff said the MTA did not comment on pending legislation.
Though the MTA operates the bridge, other transportation agencies may have to correct signs that reference the bridge. Neither the New York City Department of Transportation nor the state Department of Transportation responded to a request for comment. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it did not manage any signs with the name of the bridge.
The bill to rename the bridge passed the state Senate in 2017 as well, but died in the Assembly. Capitol-watchers expect it to pass the Assembly this year.
But some elected officials aren’t too excited.
“Look, the guy’s name should be spelled the proper way,” said New York City Councilman Justin Brannan, who represents the Brooklyn side of the bridge. “But it’s so hard to convince voters that you can walk and chew gum at the same time. When it seems like we’re getting bipartisan support (for this issue) when there are so many other things that should be tended to, who cares?”