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NEWS

For Immediate Release
MAY 17, 2011

BRIDGE AUTHORITY TO LEASE FIBER OPTIC
Deal with Time Warner worth $480,000

Capitalizing on its critical link across the Hudson, the NYS Bridge Authority has created a type of public-private partnership with Time Warner Cable Systems that will yield almost a half million dollars for the Authority, Executive Director Joseph Ruggiero announced today.
Time Warner will lease fiber optic cable on the Bridge Authority’s Mid-Hudson Bridge, providing access over the Hudson River and a critical pathway for Time-Warner’s fiber optic network in the region.
 “Our mission is to provide safe and reliable bridges for our residents and travelers, along with the lowest responsible toll possible.  We do not receive state or federal tax money and pay for the maintenance and operation of these bridges almost exclusively through tolls.  Anything we can do that is reasonable to keep those tolls down is good policy,” Ruggiero said.
Ruggiero said that innovative programs like fiber optic leasing and the advertising program recently launched by the Authority won’t replace tolls, but everything helps. “Government must be more innovative and entrepreneurial to solve our problems. This type of revenue has a long-term benefit to the bottom line,” Ruggiero added.
Time Warner will pay the Authority $48,000 per year for 10 years.  The Bridge Authority invested a total of $180,000 in its own infrastructure to accommodate the ‘dark fiber’ and will turn a profit on the project in less than four years. 
The Bridge Authority built additional capacity in its fiber optic network on the Mid-Hudson Bridge so that future clients will generate almost 100% net revenue for the Authority.  Ruggiero also said the Authority will consider expanding its network on other bridges if there is sufficient interest to justify the costs. 
At full capacity, the network has the potential to yield up to $5 Million in revenue for the Bridge Authority over the 10-year period.

Ruggiero said the Authority has leases on other bridges for conduit, basically a pipeline that major vendors would put their own cables through, but these generated less revenue and were only practical for very few businesses.  The leasing of individual fiber optic strands allows many more opportunities for a wide variety of businesses. 
The Authority is looking to expand its ability to generate revenue.  “When an opportunity presents itself, we’ll take a hard look at the costs and the benefits and decide on an individual basis how to proceed.  We’re very conscience of the historic and cultural significance of our bridges and won’t do anything to jeopardize that; but we also have an obligation to the public to explore new and creative ways to pay the bills to keep our bridges among the best maintained in the nation,” Ruggiero said.
The NYS Bridge Authority operates the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff and Rip Van Winkle bridges. 
The $1.00 passenger vehicle toll for east-bound passage on all Authority bridges is among the lowest nationwide for self-supporting transportation agencies (there is no toll for west-bound passage).  Tolls are actually lower today, in real dollars, than they were in 1933 when the Authority began operations.

For all of the latest news, business opportunities, and Authority updates please follow us on Twitter at @NYSBridge (https://twitter.com/#!/NYSBridge).  You can also find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com) by searching for the “New York State Bridge Authority.”

Quick Facts about the New York State Bridge Authority

  • The NYS Bridge Authority operates the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff and Rip Van Winkle bridges.       
  • The Authority is funded from bridge tolls and receives no tax monies for bridge maintenance and operation.
  • The Authority holds the highest bond rating given any public toll-transportation entity in the United States, reducing bond and annual costs.
  • The $1 passenger vehicle toll for east-bound passage on all Authority bridges is among the lowest nationwide for self-supporting transportation agencies (there is no toll for west-bound passage).