For Immediate Release: 09/18/23
Contact: Office of Media Relations and Communications | (518) 471-5300 | firstname.lastname@example.org
THRUWAY AUTHORITY BOARD OF DIRECTORS APPROVES TOLL ADJUSTMENT PROPOSAL TO SUPPORT FISCAL STABILITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS
Statewide Tolls Remain Frozen System-wide through 2023
2024 is the First Toll Adjustment for System-wide NY E-ZPass Customers in 14 Years
New Rates Will Go Into Effect January 1, 2024
More Information on the Approved Toll Adjustment Can Be Found HERE
The New York State Thruway Authority Board of Directors today approved a toll adjustment on the New York State Thruway system following a 10-month long public process. The toll adjustment creates a responsible, stable financial plan and ensures the Authority can meet its future capital and infrastructure needs. The Thruway is a user-fee supported roadway and receives no dedicated federal, state or local tax dollars.
Today’s Board vote marks the end of a public toll adjustment process that began in December 2022. The process included five public hearings in 2023, receipt and consideration of 210 public comments, completion of the Environmental Assessment for the proposed toll modification, as well as the completion of all of the necessary actions required by the Public Authorities Law, the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) and the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
“Today’s vote by the Board of Directors maintains some of the lowest toll rates in the country and fulfills the system-wide operating, debt service, and capital needs for our financial plan,” Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Frank G. Hoare said. “We’d like to thank individuals and industry representatives who attended the public hearings, those who contacted us expressing their opinion on the proposal, and elected officials for their feedback. This proposal was developed to ensure the safety and reliability of the Thruway by providing the Authority with additional revenue to meet our infrastructure and operational needs.”
Thruway Authority Board of Directors Chair Joanne M. Mahoney said, “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. The 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 Thruway Authority, supported by analysis from its independent traffic engineering consultant, 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 here.
There are $470 million in capital project needs that are currently not supported by the resources available for the existing 2022-2026 Capital Program. 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.
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.
First NY E-ZPass System-wide Toll Adjustment in 14 years
NY E-ZPass customers are the most frequent users of the Thruway and receive the steepest discounts and highest level of convenience for payment. Non-NY E-ZPass and Tolls by Mail customers pay a differential and are much more infrequent users of the system. The differential covers additional processing costs and incentivizes customers to get a NY E-ZPass tag for the easiest and most affordable way to pay their tolls. NY E-ZPass tags are available regardless of residency in New York State.
Beginning on January 1, 2024, the base NY E-ZPass rate will increase by five percent outside of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, representing the first toll adjustment for these customers since 2010. A second five percent increase will 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 will 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. 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 (thruway.ny.gov/getezpass).
Motorists can view what the adjusted toll rates will be on the 2024 Toll Adjustment Calculator on the Thruway Authority’s website.
Modest Increases for the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
Beginning on January 1, 2024, the fixed toll rate at the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (GMMCB) for NY E-ZPass customers will increase by $0.50 each year through 2027. In 2027, the base NY E-ZPass rate for passenger vehicles will be $7.75. Commercial toll rate increases will be proportionate to the passenger rate increases.
In addition, the plan preserves the 40 percent commuter discount plan and increases the resident discount from 17 percent to 20 percent for qualified Rockland and Westchester residents on the GMMCB. In 2021, more than 30 percent of all tolls collected on the GMMCB were discounted through commuter and resident plans.
Thruway Remains One of the Safest Highways While Maintaining Lowest Toll Rates in the Nation
While the Authority continues to maintain the highest level of safety for its motorists, this adjustment will keep its toll rates among the lowest in the country compared to similar toll roads. The Thruway base passenger vehicle toll rate is less than $0.05 per mile, compared to the Ohio Turnpike ($0.06 per mile), the New Jersey Turnpike ($0.11 and $0.31 cents per mile) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike ($0.14 per mile).
In 2022, the Thruway-wide fatality rate 0.16 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. This compares to an index of 1.30 nationwide in 2022 and 1.02 for New York State in 2020.
Modernizing and Reinvesting Toll Dollars into the Thruway
Over the last decade, the Thruway Authority has made a sustained effort to modernize all facets of its 570-mile system. The new three-mile-long Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is fully open to traffic and the shared bicycle and pedestrian path is welcoming thousands of visitors each year. In 2020, the Thruway converted to cashless tolling system-wide, which reduces congestion, improves safety and reduces air pollution.
All 27 Thruway service areas are currently being redeveloped as part of a $450 million private investment plan in partnership with Empire State Thruway Partners. Currently, 11 of the new service areas have reopened. When the project is completed, 23 of the 27 service area buildings will be rebuilt, with significant renovations and upgrades to the remaining four. Amenities include Taste NY markets, modern restaurant concepts, outdoor seating, food trucks, playgrounds, and pet walking areas, among other things. No Thruway toll dollars or state tax dollars are being used for construction.