Tolls on the new Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River may cost cash customers as much as $14, almost triple the current price, when it opens in 2017.
It currently costs cash customers $5. Drivers with a discounted commuter plan would pay $8.40 instead of the current $3 and E-ZPass users about $13.30 rather than $4.75, Larry Schwartz, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s chief of staff, said at a community meeting in Ramapo last night. Tolls would continue to be collected in only one direction.
Building a new $5.2 billion span is a priority for Cuomo, a 54-year-old Democrat who likens the project to the 19th century construction of the Erie Canal. Without the replacement, tolls would rise to about $11.30 to cover the $3 billion to $4 billion needed to make improvements to the 56-year-old span, according to Schwartz.
“To me, it would emphasize that the only real option would be to build a new bridge,” Schwartz said. “It’s the most sensible affordable practical option on the table.”
The 3.1-mile (5-kilometer) bridge about 20 miles north of Manhattan carries 138,000 vehicles, 40 percent more than its design intended.
The state has applied for a $2 billion federal loan and plans to sell toll-backed bonds to help build a replacement Tappan Zee Bridge.
Three design teams led by Fluor Corp., Bechtel Group Inc. and Skanska AB submitted proposals July 27, which are being reviewed by state officials. A fourth team that also was put on a short list to compete for the project in February, which was led by Grupo Dragados SA, didn’t submit a plan, the New York Thruway Authority said in an e-mailed statement.
The final price for the new bridge, and therefore the cost of the tolls on it, won’t be determined until a winning proposal is selected. Cuomo has previously said the tolls would be in line with other Hudson River crossings. When the new Tappan Zee opens, which is expected in 2017, tolls on the George Washington Bridge will be at least $14, Schwartz said.