“For many Westchester and Rockland residents, the bridge is the only practical crossing for commuting, shopping and visiting family,” Cuomo said in a letter Friday to the New York State Thruway Authority.
Officials have put forward several potential toll hikes, which they say will help pay for the new bridge or rehabilitation of the old one. The state's favored plan would triple tolls to $14. Commuters would pay $8.40.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner had organized a meeting for next week to lobby against the $14 toll, saying it was too high. He canceled the meeting after Cuomo expressed his support for a lower toll, saying there was no need for the gathering.
“I want to express my appreciation to Governor Cuomo for listening to the community,” Feiner said. “It’s great to have a Governor in office who is trying hard to be responsive to concerns of the electorate. $14 tolls would have had a very negative impact on small and large businesses in Westchester and Rockland.”
Cuomo's letter outlines several ways to potentially reduce tolls for local residents, pointing to a discount program for Staten Island residents. Cuomo said the state should work to get federal funding for the bridge, including a $2 billion federal loan that could pay a third of the cost, and use financial mechanisms to lower the cost of borrowing money.
Cuomo said discount programs that benefit Westchester and Rockland County residents should be expanded and that all money from any toll increases should only be used to pay for the bridge.