The Nassau County Bridge Authority, established in 1945 to operate and maintain the bridge, raised the basic toll from $2 to $3 at the beginning of 2023, the first increase since 2007.
When the E-ZPass system is activated, users will be billed $3 per trip, but those who pay cash will see another increase, to $4, once the system begins operation, according to the authority.
In February, the authority reached an agreement with TRMI Systems Integration, a service that specializes in electronic toll systems, to implement E-ZPass. Along with the agreement, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will sponsor the authority, allowing it to become an affiliated member of E-ZPass.
“Through an agreement with the MTA, the Nassau County Bridge Authority will become an E-ZPass participating agency,” Dave Steckel, an MTA media liaison, wrote in an email, “able to utilize the E-ZPass New York Customer Service Center and interact with the E-ZPass Interagency Group, comprised of toll entities across multiple states. The members share common business rules that operate independent E-ZPass electronic toll collection programs that enroll customers, issue transponders and manage customer accounts.”
The activation of the system will include a discounted, $162 annual pass for residents of the Long Beach barrier island, from Point Lookout to Atlantic Beach, who use E-ZPass.
The bridge, which originally opened in 1927, was replaced in 1952, and the current bridge was rebuilt in 1998.
Samuel Nahmias, chairman of the bridge authority, who was appointed last year, stated in a news release at the time that over the previous three years, the authority had lost over $1 million per year, and was expected to lose $2 million in 2023.
“After a vigorous review, our auditor and board determined that a toll increase is required for the viability of the bridge authority,” Nahmias said at the time.
The bridge is expected to undergo construction including substructure repairs, bulkhead replacement, storm drainage improvement, roadway resurfacing and painting through 2026. According to a notice on the bridge authority’s website, the total cost of the capital will be $22.6 million.
The bridge authority has a five-member Board of Commissioners, and hosts monthly meetings at the bridge’s headquarters that are open to the public.
Carolynn Matulewicz, a resident of Atlantic Beach, said she is all for E-ZPass, and that it is well overdue, but she added that she was “appalled” by the way the authority conducted its most recent meeting, on Nov. 15.
“They have us sitting in a room downstairs, and they’re upstairs in another room,” Matulewicz said. “They’re not allowing anyone upstairs in the meeting.”
“We couldn’t hear them and didn’t have any sound,” she said. “Conducting business upstairs, without the public being present, and then when we tried to address it, they refused to allow us to come in.”
Matulewicz claimed that the board violated the State Open Meetings Law, and said she had filed a report with the Nassau County Police Department.
According to the law, a public agency must provide the public with the opportunity to attend meetings, but is not required to allow attendees to speak.
Raymond Webb, executive director of the bridge authority, did not respond to emails and calls requesting comment.
The authority’s next scheduled meeting is Dec. 20, at 6:30 p.m.