The Real Deal New York

Officials mull big toll hike to pay for new Tappan Zee Bridge

But local leaders fear doubling of fare would incense commuters
March 26, 2014 01:35PM

Government officials are considering upping the toll to cross the new Tappan Zee Bridge in order to pay for the $3.9 billion project. But local politicians are concerned such an increase will spark an outcry among commuters.

Currently, the round-trip fare for the bridge is $5 — less than many other crossings into New York City charge. The Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge, for example, each charge $13 per round-trip.

The round-trip rate at the new Tappan Zee Bridge may need to be hiked up to $11 to help pay for construction costs that have not yet been financed, according to an estimate by the New York Times. Currently, only $1.6 billion of the funding has been secured through five-year bonds pledged by the government, the paper reported.

“There would have to be an awful lot of tolls to make up for the $2.3 billion,” State Senator John DeFrancisco, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told the Times.

The cost of interest on the bonds has not been included in the bridge repair budget, and could add $765 million to the bill before the bridge is even finished, the paper said. The manager of the project, the New York State Thruway Authority, plans to appoint a financing task force to draw up a more detailed course of action.

One side of the new dual-span Tappan Zee Bridge is due to open in 2016. [NYT] — Angela Hunt