Tolls on the new Tappan Zee Bridge should be kept to no more than $6, Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, D-Greenburgh, Westchester County, said today.
There has been speculation that the current $5 toll could increase to as much as $14.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that the state has secured up to a $1.6 billion federal loan for the $3.9 billion project, which also includes another $900 million in additional costs. So with the total at $4.8 billion, the federal loan would cover one third of the project, state officials said.
“Now is the time for a public discussion on how to fund the pay back of $4 billion in construction loans for the two new Tappan Zee Bridges,” Abinanti said in a statement. “Westchester and Rockland residents can’t afford to pay the tolls necessary to support the full construction costs and continue to subsidize the rest of the Thruway system as they do today.”
The state Thruway Authority is expected to sell $2.4 billion in bonds to cover the remainder of the construction costs, but it’s unclear how the Thruway plans to pay it back. It could either come solely from Tappan Zee Bridge tolls or from a combination of bridge revenue and the 570-mile Thruway system.
Abinanti said the cost of the bridge is less than expected, meaning tolls should be only about $6 roundtrip if the bridge revenue is used to keep tolls down. Also, he said, revenue from Thruway operations in the region should be used only for the region, including the Tappan Zee Bridge.
“Tappan Zee Bridge tolls will rise to more than $10.00 only if we use the Thruway Authority’s new proposed formula requiring that Tappan Zee Bridge toll payers continue to contribute to the cost of the entire Thruway system and, in addition, assume all of the new costs of the new bridges,” he said.