SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — On December 5, the Thruway Authority Board of Directors will meet to discuss increasing toll rates beginning in 2024. In a letter to the board, Executive Director Matthew Driscoll wrote:
“The Thruway Authority must continue to review and adjust its current toll rates to sufficiently fund its capital program, operations and debt service. The 2023 Thruway Authority Budget currently projects additional revenue needs above the levels generated by the existing toll rates beginning in 2024.”
You can review the Thruway Authority’s Agenda.
“The Thruway Authority is putting forth a proposal to begin the public process to adjust toll rates at its Monday meeting of the Board of Directors. Here are the facts behind the proposal: Tolls remain frozen through 2023 and if passed, we will maintain some of the lowest toll rates in the nation. 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 system-wide toll increase for NY E-ZPass customers in 14 years. 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.”Thruway Authority spokesperson
- Tolls by Mail Toll Rates: Beginning on January 1, 2024, increase the current 30 percent. Tolls by Mail rate differential (a toll rate 30 percent above the NY E-ZPass rate) to a 75 percent differential. With this change, NY E-ZPass customers will receive a 75% discount from the Tolls by Mail and Non-NY E-ZPass toll rates.
- Non-NY E-ZPass Rates: Beginning on January 1, 2024, increase the current Non-NY E-ZPass toll rate differential from a 15 percent rate differential (a toll rate 15 percent above the NY E-ZPass rate for Non-NY E-ZPass tolls) to a 75 percent differential. With this change, NY E-ZPass customers will receive a 75 percent discount from the Tolls by Mail and Non-NY E-ZPass toll rates.
- Increase the NY E-ZPass Rates System-wide: Beginning on January 1, 2024, provide a 5 percent increase in NY E-ZPass toll rates on the rest of the system. Beginning on January 1, 2027, provide a 5 percent increase in NY E-ZPass toll rates on the rest of the system.
Before the idea is accepted, the proposal must be accompanied by at least three public hearings. The group must provide financial reports indicating the need for the toll increase and submit the proposal to the following governmental leaders:
- Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
- Chairman of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee
- The Ranking Minority members of the Senate Finance Committee
- The Assembly Ways and Means Committee 120 days before the proposed increase took effect.
The financial reports must be sent to the aforementioned members 120 days before the proposal.
What’s the next step?
According to the thruway’s website, the Authority would then undertake a formal rule-making process under the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA) to modify the Authority’s toll structure. After the Authority takes over, the Authority will then assess the public comments received.
The website also states that rule-making regarding toll modifications constitutes an action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). Environmental review relating to the implementation of toll adjustments will be conducted concurrently with rule-making and satisfaction of the Public Authorities Law § 153-c (PAL 153-c) hearing requirements.
A consultant will assist the Authority with the satisfaction of the SEQRA process within the same 120- day time frame as is needed to comply with the PAL requirements.
Why increase toll price’s now?
With the recent landmark investments along the Thruway and the significance of the Thruway to travelers, it appears to be imperative that actions will be made to enhance the efficiency of travel to help ensure the reliability of the system.
The Finance Committee proposed this Thruway toll increase at its December 5 meeting and recommended that the idea be presented to the full Board for consideration.