Hochul Orders M.T.A. to Stop Pressuring Marathon to Pay for Lost Tolls

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday said that she had ordered the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to drop its effort to charge the New York City Marathon roughly $750,000 for its use of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

“The marathon is an iconic symbol of New York City’s tenacity and resilience that unites communities across the five boroughs each fall,” she said in a statement. “I’ve directed the M.T.A. to fix this mess and allow the marathon to move forward as it always has.”

Her decision to do so came more than a day after The New York Times reported that the authority was threatening to relegate the marathon to just one of the bridge’s two decks, unless the organization that runs the race agreed to a payment plan to make up for the toll revenue lost when the bridge is closed to vehicular traffic.

The bridge connects Brooklyn and Staten Island. Since 1988, the marathon has used both the bridge’s upper and lower decks.

The New York Road Runners, the organization that oversees the marathon, had sought the intervention of the governor, via a letter in February warning her that the start of the race was “now in danger.” The Road Runners noted that after the last marathon in November, Ms. Hochul and the M.T.A. had bragged about the positive effect the race had on subway ridership.

“We are aware of Governor Hochul’s statement, and appreciate her support of the TCS New York City Marathon,” said Crystal Howard, a spokeswoman for the organization.

The Road Runners was not the only organization from which the M.T.A. was seeking reimbursement. In March, the authority also reached out to Bike New York, which runs the Five Boro Bike Tour and uses a deck of Verrazzano for its final leg into Staten Island.

The M.T.A. told Bike New York that it would be unable to use the bridge unless it came up with an undetermined amount of forgone toll revenue, which would render the bike tour a four-borough affair instead.

A spokesman for the authority declined to comment on Thursday.

When The Times initially sought comment from the governor’s office, the request was referred to the M.T.A., which Ms. Hochul effectively controls.

The governor’s change of heart was first reported by The New York Post, which had picked up The Times’s reporting and used it to drive its front-page cover on Thursday.

A spokesman for Bike New York said it was not immediately clear if the reprieve applied to the bike organization, too.

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