Despite opposition during the COVID-19 pandemic, starting Friday, it's going to cost drivers more to cross a bridge in the Hudson Valley.

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On Wednesday, New York State Bridge Authority confirmed new toll rates go into effect on May 1, for the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff, and Rip Van Winkle bridges.

"These rates are the result of an extensive and lengthy public review process that closely followed an implementation timeline. Your toll dollars are reinvested back into the Bridge Authority's spans to ensure that they continue to safely connect the communities of the Hudson Valley for generations to come," New York State Bridge Authority said on Facebook.

E-ZPass users will see an increase of 10 cents, from $1.25 to $1.35. Cash drivers will pay 25 cents more, $1.50 to $1.75.

Officials say this marks the first toll increase in eight years and will help ensure the continued safety and maintenance on the bridges.

"The tolls will still remain among the lowest in the nation and go directly into the continued upkeep and maintenance of our Hudson River bridges. With some of the highest safety ratings of bridges of their age, we want to continue to ensure they remain that way for all who use them," the New York State Bridge Authority said.

Officials say the May 1 toll increase was decided well before the COVID-19 pandemic and must "be kept in place in order to fund critical infrastructure projects, as well as the year-round upkeep of our local bridges."

State Sen. Sue Serino, New York Senate District 41, called for a pause on the planned toll hike.

"At a time when every penny counts for most New York families, we should not be increasing tolls. The only people who are regularly utilizing the bridges right now are essential workers. These are the very people who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, and they should not have to bear the burden of increased costs associated with traveling to and from the jobs we rely on them for. The Bridge Authority has done a great job keeping costs down and staving off toll increases for nearly a decade. Pausing this increase for the time being is one way we can continue to honor those who are doing their part during this time to keep our community safe and healthy," Serino said in a press release.

The New York State Bridge Authority reports tolls will continue to increase each year until 2023. Under the current plan, by 2023, it will cost non-E-ZPass drivers $2.15 to cross a bridge in the Mid-Hudson Valley and $1.65 for passenger vehicles with E-ZPass.

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