Proposed toll increase for New York Thruway ‘outrageous,’ says state legislator

December 1, 2022

Ryan Witkowski


Drivers traveling through the Empire State may soon be paying more in tolls.

On Nov. 30, the New York State Thruway Authority announced its intention to propose a systemwide toll increase beginning in 2024.

The agency is proposing an increase of 5% in 2024 for in-state E-ZPass users, with an additional increase of 5% coming in 2027. For drivers without E-ZPass – or with one from another state – the proposed increase is 75%.

The proposal will officially be presented to the authority’s board of directors on Dec. 5. The board plans to hold public hearings on the plan prior to voting on whether to approve or reject it.

The agency says the reason for the increase is to help update and repair an aging infrastructure. Of the New York State Thruway’s 815 bridges, 75% are over 60 years old. According to a report from WHEC news, more than 85 of the bridges along the toll road have been identified for replacement within the next 10 years. The Thruway Authority projects the replacement cost of those 85 bridges at around $800 million.

“As a tolling authority, we receive no state, federal or local tax dollars to support our operations, and, when effective, we will not have had a systemwide toll increase for NY E-ZPass customers in 14 years,” Thruway Authority spokesperson Jonathan Dougherty said in a statement. “This is a responsible financial plan to ensure the Authority will meet its growing capital and infrastructure needs for a system that is approaching 70 years in age.”

Several state officials have already spoken out against the proposed toll increase. Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt chastised the agency for seeking more money from residents during an already difficult economic time.

“As record inflation and economic difficulties continue, millions of New Yorkers are struggling to provide for their families this holiday season. Yet rather than trying to help, this state government seems determined to do the opposite,” Ortt said in a statement. “Rather than rein in spending the way most families are doing, unelected bureaucrats appointed by the governor are moving to siphon more money away from the public and into their own hands. … This year-end surprise is cowardly and just plain wrong. I am calling on the governor to immediately shelve this new tax on driving and reject any more toll hikes on already struggling New York families.”

New York State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara – who has introduced legislation that would enact a toll-hike freeze for two years – called the proposal “outrageous,” saying he was shocked to see the agency suggest an increase in tolls.

“Clearly the Thruway Authority is out of touch with the times we are living in,” Santabarbara said in a statement. “I urge the governor and state legislature to reject this proposal and take action to help New Yorkers keep more of their hard-earned money where it belongs – in their pockets.”

If approved, the increase would be the first systemwide rate hike since 2010. LL