By Rick Pezzullo
The New York State Thruway Authority Board of Directors approved a proposal Thursday to begin the toll adjustment process on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, starting in 2021.
Beginning January 1, 2021, NY E-ZPass rates will increase by 50 cents from $4.75 to $5.25. Rates will go up an additional 50 cents to $5.75 in 2022.
A new resident E-ZPass plan will be offered for Westchester and Rockland County residents that will keep the rate at $4.75 through 2022. The program will be offered to passenger vehicles with a NY E-ZPass who opt into the plan and can provide proof of residency (i.e. documentation showing their vehicle is registered in one of these two counties, etc.).
Motorists who pay tolls by mail will see tolls on the bridge increase from $5 to $6.83 in 2021 and to $7.48 in 2022.
The Thruway Authority, supported by analysis by its independent traffic engineer, determined additional revenues were needed for the Authority to fulfill its system-wide operating, debt service, and capital needs through the upcoming forecast period. Thruway tolls have not been adjusted since 2010.
Since 2010, the Thruway Authority has reinvested toll revenues into the system by replacing/rehabilitating 116 bridges, resurfacing more than 2,000 lane miles of the highway and spending more than $6.6 billion on the capital program, which includes the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
“Given that these groundbreaking projects are transforming travel on the Thruway and ushering in a new era of a modern transportation network for motorists in New York, this is the right time both operationally and financially for us to begin this process,” Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said. “The feedback from motorists about a potential toll adjustment has been essential in this process. We are committed to keeping tolls affordable, while providing the Thruway the necessary revenue for our capital needs.”
Thruway Authority officials stressed that in 2022 the passenger toll rate on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge will be 58 percent below the rates at Port Authority crossings and 53 percent below the current passenger rates for the major MTA Bridges and Tunnels. For example, the cash toll rate on the George Washington Bridge is currently $15 for two-axle vehicles and $12.50 for E-ZPass holders during peak hours.
The NY E-ZPass rates for commercial vehicles on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge will increase by 31 percent in 2021 and 30 percent in 2022. The toll for a tractor trailer with five axels and a NY E-ZPass account will increase to $55.77 during peak hours in 2022, compared to $90 at the George Washington Bridge. Even with the adjustment, the commercial toll rate on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in 2022 will still be 38 percent less than the toll rate on the George Washington Bridge.
In July, the Toll Advisory Panel held listening sessions in Rockland and Westchester counties, including in Tarrytown, to review toll rates, potential resident and commuter discount programs and commercial vehicle rates on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. Feedback from the listening sessions, as well as recommendations by Stantec Inc., the Thruway Authority’s independent traffic engineer, were considered in the proposal.