A trip to Long Beach is about to get more expensive. Starting January 1, 2023, the Nassau County Bridge Authority is increasing the toll for the Atlantic Beach Bridge from the current $2 each way to $3 each way and eventually $4 for non-Nassau residents. That means a roundtrip to Long Beach via the bridge will soon cost Rockaway residents $8.
On December 1, the NCBA published a press release letting people know about the upcoming changes, including the roll-out of E-ZPass on the bridge that currently doesn’t use the service. “NCBA tolls remain among the lowest in the region and deliver support for critical infrastructure improvements for the Atlantic Beach Bridge. The implementation of an Electronic Tolling System, E-ZPass, will also roll out in mid-year 2023 and will make the customer’s driving experience safer and timelier. The new rates are the first increase in Atlantic Beach Bridge tolls since January 1, 2007, roughly 17 years ago. With consideration to the current impacts of inflation, the new toll rates will provide support for a number of upcoming capital improvements at the Atlantic Beach Bridge notably: E-ZPass/Toll Plaza refurbishment $5.0 million; Bulkhead replacement $5.0 million; Bridge Cleaning, Painting and Road Work $6.0 million,” the release read.
The toll changes are as follows. Starting January 1, all passenger vehicles without decals or 20-trip passes will pay $3 instead of the current $2 each way. After the E-ZPass rollout, expected in mid-2023, Nassau residents will continue to pay $3, while nonresidents and those who don’t use E-ZPass will pay $4. Trucks and commercial vans will pay higher fees.
The 20-trip pass card will continue to be available in 2023, but the price will be going up to $30 from $15, making trips $1.50 each. However, the 20-trip pass will no longer be available after 2023. Decals, which provide unlimited rides, will also be going away in 2024. For 2023, they will be available to Nassau residents for $199 instead of $130. For vehicles registered outside of Nassau, the decal will be available for $349 instead of $175.
When the press release was first issued, there was some panic over Nassau residents having to pay as much as $4,000 to regularly cross the bridge, however on Tuesday, December 6, Samuel Nahmias, Chairman of the NCBA, released a statement, clarifying the confusion. While decal stickers will be going away in 2024, Nassau residents can still take advantage of the unlimited access decal discount and will continue to pay $199 annually on E-ZPass while nonresidents can pay the $349 for unlimited access.
Despite the clarification, many are still planning on attending the NCBA’s next meeting of the Board of Commissioners on Thursday, December 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Authority Office, Administration Building and the southern end of Route #878 in Lawrence, to express concerns.
Those who work in Long Beach will benefit from unlimited plan, but the increase to $3 and then $4 for nonresidents may impact many who go to the Long Beach area on occasion to frequent the restaurants and businesses there, for music gigs, or even for trips further out to Jones Beach. Rockaway residents will still be able to bypass any toll by going the long way through Five Towns, Oceanside and Island Park and across the Long Beach Bridge, which is free. This trip adds about 15 extra minutes, depending on traffic.
After this increase, the NCBA will not consider raising tolls again until 2028. For more info, see: www.ncbaabb.com/