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Bridge Authority now considering toll increase on five bridges

Last month, our vehicle traffic law blog reported on how motorists using some of New York City's busiest thoroughfares - the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bridge, and Outerbridge Crossing - were being forced to pay substantially higher tolls by the Port Authority. Now, it appears as if this phenomenon is slowly spreading to other parts of the state.

According to reports, officials with the New York State Bridge Authority are currently considering a rather steep toll hike designed to generate much-needed revenue for impending capital improvement projects, including bridge deck replacements.

Over the last eight months, officials have seen total revenue from area bridge tolls decline by two percent or $450,000 due largely to rising gas prices.

Under the proposed toll increase, motorists using any of the following bridges - the Mid-Hudson, Newburgh-Beacon, Kingston-Rhinecliff, Rip Van Winkle, and Bear Mountain - would pay a toll of $1.50 if they plan to use cash. Similarly, drivers with the E-ZPass system would pay $1.25. This constitutes an increase of $.50 and $.25 respectively.

The proposed toll increase - the first since 1999 - would likely go into effect in February 2012 after public hearings are held in December.

Interestingly, the Bridge Authority has also been utilizing a more unique approach to generating revenue: selling advertising space at the toll gates.

In fact, since the ad program was started in April, both local and national businesses have paid the Bridge Authority almost $200,000.

"We're extremely pleased with the great response to the program," said Executive Director Joseph Ruggiero. "Between the economy and high gas prices, toll revenue has seen a steady decline for the past few years."

What are your thoughts on these proposed toll increases?

Stay tuned for further developments from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...

If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Poughkeepsie Journal, "Toll hike proposed on 5 bridges to pay for capital projects" Oct. 10, 2011

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