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State blasts Bridge Authority over toll increases

Dec 10, 2019 2:00 pm
Joseph Spector is reporting for the Poughkeepsie Journal the Cuomo administration is taking issue with the state Bridge Authority's plan to raise tolls by 60 percent on the five Hudson Valley bridges it controls. In letter sent December 6, state budget director Robert Mujica vehemently attacked the authority's plan to increase revenue by 37 percent through a toll increase. The authority maintains five toll bridges: the Rip Van Winkle, the Mid-Hudson, the Newburgh-Beacon, the Kingston-Rhinecliff and the Bear Mountain. Under the plan, tolls on all five bridges would increase from $1.25 to $2 roundtrip for drivers with an E-ZPass, and from $1.50 to $2.50 for those paying cash. A state review of the authority's finances "has determined that a toll increase of this magnitude is not warranted," Mujica wrote. The plan, he continued, "relies on financing assumptions that do not follow accepted industry standards," allowing the agency to "avoid careful management of its resources and leaving drivers footing the bill." Christopher Kelly, the authority's acting chief of staff declined comment on the state's letter. The Bridge Authority's board okayed potential toll hikes and cashless tolling in September as part of its $243 million capital improvement plan for the bridges. It is unclear when the toll increases might take effect. Read the full story in the Poughkeepsie Journal.
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