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Thruway launches process to raise statewide tolls

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

A proposal could increase tolls on the New York State Thruway. Courtesy of Thruway Authority

ALBANY — The Thruway Authority has launched the process to raise tolls on the statewide roadway.

The Thruway Authority’s board of directors on Monday announced the proposed new tolls would remain frozen in 2023 and would go into effect in 2024.

Under the proposal, the base E-ZPass rate would increase by 5% on the Thruway beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

The toll rate would increase again by another 5% in January 2027.

Drivers without E-ZPass would pay higher increases. Under the current rating structure, non-E-ZPass drivers who pay by mail are charged 15% higher toll rates compared to E-ZPass users; that differential would increase by 75% under the proposed plan.

For drivers without E-ZPass, the rate would increase from 5.1 cents per mile for passenger vehicles to 8.6 cents by 2027.  

The rate increase would differ on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, formerly the Tappan Zee Bridge. The bridge’s toll would increase 50 cents each year between 2024 and 2027, and would be $7.75 per crossing by 2027.

The last time tolls were raised on the Thruway was in 2010.

The board’s vote Monday is the first step in increasing tolls and will begin the process of setting up public hearings and gathering public comment, with a final vote by the board expected within the next year.

“The Thruway Authority and its incredible team of employees work hard every day to hold the line on spending and present a balanced budget that ensures the continued viability of the system,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll. “As a tolling authority, we receive no federal, state or local tax dollars to support our operations.”

If enacted, the toll changes would be the first adjustment to toll rates for E-ZPass customers in 14 years, according to the Thruway Authority.

“We have not seen a systemwide toll increase since 2010, and now is the time to move ahead with this financial plan so that we can meet our growing capital investment needs while continuing to provide our customers with the safe and reliable highway they’ve come to expect.”

The proposed increase comes following a five-year “Needs Assessment” report conducted in 2021 that indicated an additional $470 million in capital projects were needed that could not be supported by existing operations.

“It’s based on the fact that 85% of the Thruway’s roadway base dates back to its original construction, highlighting the need for heavy maintenance, reconstruction and rehabilitation activities to keep the riding surface in a state of good repair,” according to a statement from the Thruway Authority.

Among the needed improvements are renovations to many of the Thruway’s 815 bridges, which are an average age of 55 years old, with 75% of them older than 60 years. Within the next decade, 85 bridges will need to be replaced, according to the Thruway Authority.

The proposed toll increases would maintain the 40% discounted commuter rate afforded to E-ZPass users who enroll in the commuter plan.

To submit comments on the proposed toll hike, email tollcomments@thruway.ny.gov or mail to Toll Comments, c/o Legal Department, New York State Thruway Ahtority, 200 Southern Boulevard, P.O. Box 189
Albany, NY 12201-0189.

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