BUFFALO, N.Y. — Monday afternoon, the New York State Thruway Authority approved the first increase in toll rates in 14 years.
If you have an EZ Pass, you'll be paying 5% more for your tolls next year. The rate increase is higher for people who do not use an EZ Pass.
Nearly a year ago, the New York State Thruway Authority proposed increasing tolls, and after several public meetings, the board voted Monday afternoon to approve the rate increase. It's the first one since 2010.
If you have an EZ Pass, you will pay 5% more for tolls in 2024 and they'll go up another 5% in 2027.
"We just recently passed one-billion, that's with a B, one-billion successful transactions on that system since we went live on that," said Frank Hoare, Acting Executive Director of the NYS Thruway Authority.
Drivers without an EZ Pass would go from paying 30% more to 75% more than people with EZ Passes. The Thruway Authority gets 90% of its revenue from tolls and does not receive dedicated federal, state, or local tax dollars.
The Thruway Authority Board justified the rate hike on Monday by saying these tolls will remain some of the lowest in the nation, and the majority of the bridges on the Thruway are more than 60 years old and will eventually need to be replaced.
They also point to the rising cost of construction materials.
"People hear these numbers and the need for our toll, modest toll increase, that's where it goes. It goes right back into the system, again to make it effective, efficient, and safe," said Frank Hoare.
State Senate Transportation Committee Chair Tim Kennedy says now is not the time to raise tolls.
"We should not put the burden of increased tolls on to the taxpayers and ratepayers, and so it's disappointing to see that the Thruway Authority is going to be moving forward with that," said State Sen. Tim Kennedy.
The first rate hike kicks in next year. It means a trip from Albany to Buffalo on the Thruway will cost you 60 cents more starting January 1, 2024.