NY Thruway Toll Authority Approves System-Wide Toll Increases
by M.C. Millman
The first system-wide toll increase in fourteen years was announced yesterday by the New York Thruway Authority.
For New York E-ZPass customers, the toll base rate will increase by five percent on Monday, January 1, followed by another five percent increase in January 2027.
For non-New York E-ZPass customers, the toll rate will increase from 15 percent above the New York E-ZPass rate to a 75 percent differential on January 1, 2024.
For Tolls by Mail customers, the toll rate will increase from 30 percent above the New York E-ZPass rate to a 75 percent differential also on January 1, 2024.
The new plan that went through a ten-month public process includes a fixed toll rate increase of $0.50 annually for the Tappan Zee Bridge until 2027. Passenger vehicles will be $7.75 by then, and commercial toll rate increases will rise at the same rate.
The new plan does not change the forty percent commuter discount. It does increase resident discounts to twenty percent, up three percent, for Rockland and Westchester residents.
The New York Thruway explained the increase by stating that eighty-five percent of the Thruway’s roadway base dates back to its original construction in the 1950s, highlighting the need for heavy maintenance, reconstruction, and rehabilitation activities to keep the riding surface in a state of good repair. Additionally, the average age of the Thruway’s 815 bridges is 55 years old with 75 percent of those bridges more than 60 years old. While they are continually inspected and maintained for safety, more than 85 of them have been identified for replacement within the next decade. The need to replace bridges grows exponentially after the 10-year timeline, when hundreds of bridges will need to be replaced in the following decade. To highlight the magnitude of the problem, the projected replacement cost for the most immediate 85 bridges needing replacement is roughly $800 million in today’s dollars. Factoring the hundreds of bridges that will require replacement not long thereafter, the costs escalate into the $6 - $7 billion range.
“The toll adjustments approved today by the Board of Directors follow a year-long public process and represent a responsible approach to ensure continued investment in the 570-mile Thruway system for years to come," Thruway Authority Board of Directors Chair Joanne M. Mahoney said. T"he Thruway Authority receives no dedicated federal, state or local tax dollars and relies primarily on toll dollars to maintain and operate the Thruway which is one of the safest and reliable toll roads in the country.”
The first increase will go into effect on Monday, January 1.