Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority delays hearing on bridge toll increase


Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority delays hearing on bridge toll increase

OGDENSBURG — A public hearing to discuss a proposed 25-cent increase in automobile tolls to cross the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge has been put off until sometime next year, according to OBPA officials.The meeting had been scheduled for 3 p.m. Aug. 16.Bridge and Port Authority Executive Director Wade A. Davis on Wednesday gave little explanation regarding why the hearing was cancelled other than to say more study was needed.“The proposed toll increase public hearing scheduled for 3 p.m. on Aug. 16 has been cancelled,” Mr. Davis said in an email. “The Authority anticipates further study and board evaluation of its proposal and anticipates restarting the process beginning in early 2019.”In April 2016, the Office of the State Comptroller released the results of an audit of the OBPA. The report concluded that the authority should seriously consider raising vehicle tolls on the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge to help pay for mounting maintenance costs associated with the aging international span.The recommendation was one of two major opinions offered to OBPA officials by the comptroller’s office. The audit also determined that the OBPA should more accurately report all of the authority’s capital needs — even those it can’t afford — when creating its spending plans.More than two years after the comptroller’s urging, OBPA officials are still exploring whether to increase the rates that are paid by commuters to cross the Ogdensburg to Prescott, Ontario bridge. The bridge has the lowest traffic flow numbers of the three international spans that cross the St. Lawrence River, according to OBPA officials. The other two bridges are in Massena and the Thousand Islands.Mr. Davis said the OBPA raises rates to cross the bridge periodically, but it has been more than a decade since the last hike. He said the last toll increases occurred in 2006, 1993, and 1988, respectively.The OBPA director suggested that the 25-cent increase being discussed now is minor, especially when adjustments for inflation are factored in.“In a nutshell, something that you would have purchased in 2005 for $2.75, if you applied inflation, to it, would be $3.55 today,” Mr. Davis said during a meeting of the OBPA on Tuesday.The OBPA is currently considering hiking the automobile crossing rate from $2.75 to an even $3, Mr. Davis said.In the first four months of the 2018-19 fiscal year, bridge traffic in total has been up, according to OBPA officials. Although commercial truck traffic in June saw a 10.5 percent decrease.Total crossings between April and July totalled 241,311 vehicles, a 3.45 percent increase on a year-to-year basis, according to the OBPA. Revenue from those crossings generated in the 2018-19 year total $642,265, officials said.For a complete breakdown of current bridge cross fees in Ogdensburg visit http://www.ogdensport.com/obpa_facilities/international_bridge/
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News
Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority delays hearing on bridge toll increase

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