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S&P Lowers N.Y. State Thruway’s Bond Rating Over Tappan Zee Toll Concerns

Thruway Bond Rating Cut From A+ To A
Tappan Zee Bridge pile driving, near Tarrytown (file/credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Tappan Zee Bridge pile driving, near Tarrytown (file/credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service has downgraded the credit rating for the New York State Thruway Authority, over concerns about toll increases after the new Tappan Zee Bridge is complete.

The rating service said Tuesday it has reduced the rating for bonds sold by the Thruway Authority from A+ to A. The agency said it acted because the authority has not detailed how much tolls will rise and traffic volume appears to be declining.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pushed the $3.9 billion replacement project. Construction on the new bridge officially began this month.

But full funding is not yet in place. The state is hoping that a federal loan will help limit the expected large hike in the current $5 toll.

The Associated Press reported in September that some authorities are concerned about the financing plan.

Thruway officials say the increase will be decided after the state learns if it will get a $1.5 billion federal loan.

Currently, the toll for the current Tappan Zee is $5. And the Thruway Authority estimated last year — under the previous hopes for federal funding — that when the new bridge is completed in 2018, the toll could nearly triple to about $14, which Cuomo said was too high.

Many commuters told WCBS 880′s Sean Adams they agree that much of an increase would hurt.

“It’s going to stink, $14 is a lot,” a man said.

“And you’re paying through your taxes anyway,” another man told Adams. “Less trips over the bridge.”

“If it goes up to $14, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” a commuter added.

“I’m actually in human resources. It’s very difficult to fill jobs in the New York City area because the cost of living is so high,” a woman told Adams.

Officials had no initial comment Tuesday.

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