MTA Asks NYC Marathon Organizer To Reimburse Agency For Lost Bridge Toll Revenue

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is calling on the organization producing the New York City Marathon to pay about $750,000 if it wants to continue using both decks of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge for the event.

The MTA says the payment would help cover the lost toll revenue from closing the bridge to make it available to runners. The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island with Brooklyn and is the starting point of the marathon put on by the New York Road Runners.

Catherine Sheridan, the president of MTA Bridges and Tunnels, argued the group makes more than enough money from the event to be able to reimburse the agency for the lost toll revenue.

“New York Road Runners makes more than $15 million on Marathon Day from entry fees alone and should pay its necessary expenses that include taking over a bridge at the starting line — just like the MTA covers its own costs for workers to run trains, give directions and clean stations along the route,” Sheridan said in a statement.

New York Road Runners argues the event, which attracts thousands of visitors, brings in money to the city, and MTA’s request could hurt the marathon.

“The impact of MTA’s request would represent a material change to the cost structure and would require an increase to how much runners pay to run the marathon, making it less affordable for local runners and those who travel to New York City from around the world — both of whom contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to the city’s and state’s economy,” Crystal Howard, a spokesperson for the group, said in a statement to The Associated Press.

New York Road Runners last month said nearly 165,000 runners applied for the Nov. 3 event, noting that they are expecting over 50,000 to race.

The group said, however, if the MTA decided to only make one of the two decks of the bridge available unless they paid up, it would force them to either limit the number of participants or extend the event’s duration, meaning the bridge would have to stay closed for longer, according to The New York Times.