Thruway will increase tolls by 5 percent in 2024

Posted 5 December 2022 at 2:01 pm

Hike will be first system-wide for E-ZPass users in 14 years

Press Release, NYS Thruway Authority

ALBANY – The New York State Thruway Authority Board of Directors today authorized the start of the toll adjustment process on the New York State Thruway system.

The proposed adjustments create a responsible, stable financial plan and ensure the Authority can meet its future capital and infrastructure needs. The Thruway is a user-fee supported roadway and receives no federal, state, or local tax dollars. Under this proposal, New Yorkers with a NY E-ZPass tag will continue to pay close to the lowest toll rates in the nation.

Today’s vote marks the first step to proceed with a transparent public toll adjustment process that will include public hearings, receipt and consideration of public comments, and ultimately final consideration by the Thruway Authority Board of Directors within the next year.

“We have not seen a system-wide 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,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll.

The Thruway Authority, supported by analysis from its independent traffic engineering consultant, has determined that there are additional revenues required for the Authority to fulfill its system-wide operating, debt service, and capital needs through the upcoming forecast period. The full report can be found by clicking here.

In 2021, Thruway Authority staff conducted a five year “Needs Assessment” that identified an additional $470 million in capital project needs that are currently not supported by the resources available for the existing 2022-2026 Capital Program. It’s based on the fact that 85 percent 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.

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 the safety of the traveling public, 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 which the existing toll rate structure will not support.

First NY E-ZPass System-wide Toll Adjustment in 14 years

Cashless tolling has been in effect throughout the Thruway system for more than two years and other toll barriers on the system have been using it since 2016 (for the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge).

Under this proposal, beginning on January 1, 2024, the base NY E-ZPass rate will increase by 5 percent outside of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, representing the first toll adjustment for these customers since 2010.

A second 5 percent increase would take effect in January 2027. Standard toll rates for Non-NY E-ZPass (currently 5.1 cents per mile for passenger cars) and Tolls by Mail rates (currently 5.8 cents per mile for passenger cars) will increase to 8.6 cents per mile for both groups by 2027. These rates will remain below the current standard rates of many other systems across the nation.

Similar adjustments would be made to all rates system-wide (Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and other fixed rate tolling points) and for the Non-NY E-ZPass and Tolls by Mail commercial rates as well. This change results in toll rates that are comparable with what other cashless tolling facilities charge nationwide.

For example, the Massachusetts Turnpike has an 87 percent differential and the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s differential is 98 percent for Tolls by Mail passenger toll rates. More importantly, it will increase the incentive for NY E-ZPass usage. Under this plan, the differential will not be applied to NY E-ZPass customers, making it the most affordable payment option available to all of our motorists who sign up for a tag (