The passenger vehicle cash tolls will increase from the current $3.50 (in U.S. dollars) per trip to $4 on April 1. Regular commuters receiving a full discount will see an increase from $2.45 to $2.80 per trip. Commercial rates will increase from $4.50 to $5 per axle. Canadian dollar rates, with equity adjustments, will also change correspondingly.
The increase, approved in November 2013, was prompted by the Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Authority Board of Directors’ review of the operational and capital improvement project needs of the bridge for the next 30 years. This is the second and final toll increase approved at that time as part of the Authority’s long-range business plan. Previously, the base rate increased from $3 to $3.50 on April 1, 2014.
“Capital improvement projects are expected to total about $9.4 million in the next 10 years and up to $50 million (USD) over the next 15 years to keep the bridge and plaza facilities structurally sound and operationally safe,” said Peter Petainen, general manager of the International Bridge Administration (IBA). “All toll revenue is dedicated to covering the capital costs, maintenance and operations for the bridge. The money is used to ensure the bridge is safe and available for use by all customers. This is an investment in the sustainable future of our vital link between the U.S. and Canada.”
Petainen also noted the toll increase is an investment in the communities on both sides of the crossing, as well. “We put about $6.2 million back into the local economy on an annual basis, split equally between both Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.”
No further changes to the base rate toll are currently planned. Future rate changes would require board action and public hearings. Canadian dollar rates will continue to fluctuate up or down every six months depending on the average six-month exchange rate.
The operation and maintenance of the International Bridge is totally self-funded, primarily through bridge tolls. It is not subsidized by any state, provincial or federal government entity.