BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — On Friday, the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority approved its 2021 budget, which includes toll hikes at the Peace Bridge.
The 2021 budget calls for the car toll to increase by 25 cents, to $4.00 (USD), for a roundtrip E-ZPass transaction. The tolls will increase more for drivers who do not have E-ZPass. Starting December 1, 2020, drivers using cash or credit will be charged $6.00. The rate will increase again on March 1, 2021 to $8.00-- double the E-ZPass toll.
The PBA says the increase is being made to cash/credit tolling to encourage drivers to opt for the cashless toll collection, potentially reducing the risk of employees contracting COVID-19.
The PBA does not have the legal authority to implement cashless toll systems like the toll-by-mail system in place on the New York State Thruway. A spokesperson says the authority is not able to read license plates and cannot enforce non-payment, two elements involved in a toll-by-mail system.
The border between the United States and Canada has been closed to non-essential travel since March 21, 2020. Since then, the PBA says car volume has dropped by 94%. As a result, the PBA is reducing its operations budget by $3 million and cut staffing by 26%.