The Henry Hudson Bridge, long a costly charge for Bronx residents who wished to cross the Harlem River, will soon be free for anyone with a car registered in Bronx County who has an EZ Pass. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who secured the commitment for a Henry Hudson Bridge rebate, recently voted in favor of one of the largest investments in mass transit in New York’s history and the first congestion pricing program in the North America. An ardent opponent to congestion pricing when it was last seriously discussed in 2008, Dinowitz softened his opposition in 2019 due to an overwhelming need for significant revenue to fund the proposed Fast Forward plan put forward by NYCT President Andy Byford.
Assemblyman Dinowitz frequently said publicly and internally among colleagues and leadership that if his constituents were to be expected to pay more from their own pockets to fund mass transit improvements then there must be firm commitments to make tangible improvements to transit in the Northwest Bronx. In addition to the Henry Hudson Bridge rebate for Bronx residents, Dinowitz also secured two major commitments that he has championed for many years: accelerated subway accessibility and improved bus service in the Bronx.
The Henry Hudson bridge rebate would start in approximately one year. Residents would have to register with E-Z Pass to be eligible and their cars would have to be registered in Bronx County. When a participating car crosses the bridge, the toll would be charged to their account and then immediately credited back. The toll, which used to be only ten cents, is currently $2.80 for New York E-Z Pass users and $7.00 for those without E-Z Pass.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D - Bronx) said: “The Henry Hudson Bridge used to be known colloquially as the ten-cent bridge, but in recent years the toll has continued to rise. Many of my constituents have long complained that this leads to bridge shopping which causes increased congestion and pollution in Kingsbridge and Marble Hill. I made the elimination of this toll a top priority in budget negotiations, along with firm commitments to ADA accessibility and better bus service, and I am very pleased with this outcome. I thank Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for his support and Governor Andrew Cuomo for his agreement on this important issue for residents of the Northwest Bronx.
“I understand that there are some transit advocates who may be disappointed with what they perceive as a congestion pricing carveout or a furtherance of incentivizing individual car usage, however I disagree with that characterization. People driving into the CBD will still have to pay the full toll and the best way to get people to stop driving is by making mass transit the clearly superior option. I believe that the commitments I got from the MTA on accessibility and bus service improvements will go a long way towards accomplishing this goal.”