May 19, 2009

Protesters pay bridge toll in pennies

At least 30 residents of New York's Staten Island protested a proposed bridge toll hike by paying the current $10 toll entirely in pennies.

The outraged Staten Islanders formed a motorcade Monday at the bridge to Brooklyn, slowing traffic for 20 minutes by each paying the $10 toll with 1,000 pennies, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

Participants said they were protesting a proposal that would increase the toll to $11.

Eleven dollars to cross the bridge? What are they, nuts? People are working themselves to death, participant Marie Rizzo, 59, said.

Scott LoBaido, 40, leader of the caravan, stood on the roof of his 1989 Chevy suburban and encouraged his fellow protesters by shouting, Come on! Honk your horns!

Fellow penny-payer Genevieve Grecco said she and her fellow demonstrators are human beings, not bank accounts you can constantly draw from.

You can't mess with Staten Island. We are going to make a fuss, she said.

A toll taker present during Monday's protest said pennies are an allowed form of payment.

You can pay with anything. It's money, the taker said.