“Rockland County will not stand for a doubling of the toll on the bridge,” he said. “Any increase in the crossing fees would hurt our residents, businesses and future economic growth in the region. We will not stand for it.”
He made his remarks in response to the release of a report<https://cbcny.org/
Gov. Cuomo has promised not to raise the tolls until 2020.
There are other ways to pay for the new bridge than to double the toll for the people in Rockland County who use the bridge daily, Day said.
For years, Tappan Zee toll dollars have made up one-third of the revenue for the New York State Thruway, which reaches to the Canadian border, far from Rockland County, he said.
“Now we have every right to expect the financial support of the rest of the Thruway Authority to help pay for and maintain the new bridge in our backyard,” he said.
He has fought for years to stop the Tappan Zee bridge toll dollars from subsidizing the state waterways – particularly the upstate canals.
Just last year, the state did it, shifting responsibility for New York canals and a more than $100 million annual operating deficit from the Thruway Authority to the state Power Authority.
“I have long proposed that the Governor, already a strong proponent of shared services, combine the Thruway and Bridge authorities,” Day said. “Use the savings to pay for the new bridge.”
Putting obstacles like an expensive toll in the way of attracting people to Rockland County would have a wide-ranging negative economic impact.
“Would Westchester residents be willing to shell out $10 to shop at the Palisades Center mall?,” he asked. “Or will they stay on the east side of the river, spending their dollars instead in Westchester at malls in White Plains or at Ridge Hill Shopping Center in Yonkers or even in Fairfield County, Connecticut?”
The Palisades Center in West Nyack produces 23 percent of Rockland County’s sales tax revenue. Any dip in sales tax revenue will cause either a cut in services or higher taxes, he said.
The Lower Hudson Valley has historically been shortchanged when it comes to transit.
“Just look at the value gap between what we pay the MTA and the limited service we get in return,” Day said. “We will not get shortchanged again by having the toll doubled.”