NYS banner


baby falcons

For Immediate Release
January 11, 2012

Modest Increase In Tolls Scheduled for January 30th
Mid-Hudson Region Bridges to see first increase in 12 years

Highland, NY – a 25 cent increase for most customers will go into effect at midnight on Monday, January 30, 2012 for the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff and Rip Van Winkle bridges. The NYS Bridge Authority said the increase is necessary to continue to maintain the bridges and keep them in good shape.
"No one wants a toll increase," Executive Director Joseph Ruggiero said, "so we've cut costs, reduced staff, raised additional revenue through fiber optic leasing and advertising in toll booths all in an effort to propose the smallest toll increase that will allow us to continue to maintain these critical bridges in a safe and efficient manner."
Bridge Authority Chairman Francis Vecellio said, "The bipartisan Board of Commissioners is unanimous in making this change. We know that our fiduciary responsibility demands that we act reasonably and responsibly on behalf of the people of the State. This modest increase will allow the Bridge Authority to do its job and still maintain one of the lowest tolls in the nation for a self-supporting bridge operator."
Authority Deputy Executive Director Tara Sullivan said, "These bridges are critical to our communities - linking schools, hospitals and businesses. This is the first toll increase in twelve years, and is necessary to insure that the Hudson Valley has the opportunity to prosper."
For the first time at the Bridge Authority, there will be a discount for the use of an E-ZPass. "It cost is less to collect tolls electronically, so we want to make sure we pass those savings on to our customers," Ruggiero said. Passenger cars will pay just $.25 more while cash customers will pay $.50 more to cross the bridge eastbound. There is no toll for westbound traffic.
A commuter discount plan is also available that reduces the toll even further to $1 for frequent users. The NYSBA Commuter Plan is available only through E-ZPass and requires a minimum monthly payment of $17. Details are available through the www.nysba.net or www.e-zpassny.com.
Ruggiero noted that all toll revenues collected at Bridge Authority bridges stays in the Hudson Valley. "We receive no state or federal tax money for maintenance and operations. Our tolls go directly to pay for the maintenance and operation of these facilities."

The major purpose of the toll increase is to provide for financing of large construction projects and the five-year $160 million capital program. The largest part of the Capital Program is the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge south span is slated to receive a new deck between 2012 and 2015 as part of a $100 million project to insure the bridge remains in good shape for the next 35 years.
The Authority noted that maintaining bridges is far less costly than replacing them and has a long-range program to keep its older bridges safe and in good condition. The five-year capital plan, which includes work and improvements at each bridge over the Hudson River, is $160 million.
The Authority's bridges would cost more than $1.4 billion to replace.
Tolls for commercial vehicles would also be raised depending on the size of the vehicle and the number of axels. Commercial vehicles cause more wear and tear than passenger cars and the higher tolls on these vehicles help offset increased maintenance and repair costs.
The Authority last increased tolls in 2000, changing the basic vehicle rate from $.75 to $1.00. This was only the second toll increase in NYSBA history.
The Bridge Authority owns and operates the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff and Rip Van Winkle bridges. In 2010, the state directed the Authority to take ownership of the Walkway Over the Hudson Railroad Bridge and to maintain the structure of the state Park facility.

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.”