As vehicle travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, a new report by a national transportation research nonprofit organization finds that the New York State Thruway is looking at a significant funding gap.
According to The Road Information Program (TRIP), the Thruway Authority faces a $1.2 billion backlog through 2031 to maintain its high levels of safety and service, maintain good infrastructure conditions, support operations, and maintain debt service coverage at appropriate levels. Rocky Moretti, Director of Policy and Research for TRIP, says the current condition of highways and bridges on the Thruway will deteriorate under current funding levels.
“Unfortunately, the report finds that based on current funding, the current condition of highways and bridges on the Thruway System are actually anticipated to deteriorate over the next decade,” said Moretti.
Former New York State Thruway Authority Executive Director Michael Fleischer says the report shows the Thruway is among the safest highway systems in the nation, but it requires continued and increased investments, such as the proposed toll hike that would take effect in 2024.
“I do think this report clearly shows that the proposed toll increase is necessary, is needed and the system needs it,” Fleischer said. ” That’s why the Thruway is proposing the toll increase and going through that public process.”
Fleischer added that current toll rates per mile on the Thruway and rates proposed for 2024 are well below rates on most similar toll facilities in the Northeast.
A 2022 assessment of surface distress on Thruway found that 48% of the system is in poor condition, 26% is in fair condition, and 26% is in good condition.
The full TRIP report can be viewed below: