They battled heavy downpours and flooding Monday night to pack a public hearing at the College of Staten Island about proposed toll increases by the Port Authority.

Because when it comes to paying more to get on and off Staten Island, residents and elected officials are never short on outrage:

"We demand that this not happen! We demand it!" Democrat Max Rose, who represents Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn in the 11th Congressional District, told Port Authority officials at the meeting.

Rose was part of a host of elected officials that spoke at the public hearing, one of six planned before the Port Authority can vote on the plan as soon as November.


Under the proposal, cash tolls on the Port Authority's four bridges and two tunnels would go up $1 to $16.

Port Authority officials say the need for an increase is due to inflation.

"At all turns we look at it, we're losing our discounts," said Mike Reilly, a Republican state Assemblyman for Staten Island. "We're losing more money that goes to our families, that we shop at our local businesses. All because we got to pay tolls."

The proposal also calls for:

Increasing tolls by $1 at the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Outerbridge Crossing, Goethals Bridge, and Bayonne Bridge to $16 from $15.

Increasing Air Train fees to $7.75 from $5.

And perhaps most insulting for Staten Island residents, it would significantly reduce a beloved resident discount that used to reward them for making multiple trips over one of the three Port Authority spans on the island.

"You are raping Staten Islanders at the toll booth, and rape is a crime," one local resident said at the meeting.


Residents said the proposed hike wouldn't benefit them, and would disproportionately affect them because there are no ways to get off the island using a bridge without paying a toll.

"I think this is taxation without representation. I think enough is enough. It's got to stop," one woman told Port Authority officials at the meeting. "I'm sure you probably don't pay what we pay. If you had to pay this $19 out of your pocket, I'm sure we wouldn't be having this conversation right now."

The Port Authority says it needs to raise $235 million a year to help meet its maintenance needs.

Residents on Staten Island say: get that money from someplace else.