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Niagara County bridge tolls are to become uniform

NIAGARA FALLS -- Tolls at the three international bridges in Niagara County will become the same for both American and Canadian drivers Nov. 15.

The changes were announced Monday by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission to reflect the near-equal exchange rate of the U.S. and Canadian dollars.

The U.S. toll rate for passenger vehicles will increase from $3 to $3.25, and the Canadian rate will decrease from $3.50 to $3.25.

Brent Gallaugher, manager of agency relations and security for the commission, said the rate will be the same in both U.S. and Canadian currency.

On the Rainbow Bridge, tolls are collected when drivers leave the U.S. and on the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge after clearing Canadian customs.

The tolls for recreational vehicles, limousines and vehicles in tow will be $3.25 across the board.

Bus rates will range from $10.25 for two axles to $13.50 for three axles.

Express pass tolls on the Rainbow and Lewiston-Queenston bridges will be $2.75 in both directions.

American and Canadian Nexus card users who cross at the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge will be charged $2.35.

Because of commitments that commercial carriers already have in place with their clients, commercial vehicle rate adjustments will be withheld until Jan. 1, said Thomas Garlock, general manager of the bridge commission.

Commissions that operate the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and the Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron and Sarnia, Ont., have yet to make toll adjustments.

The commission altered U.S. toll rates in February to address the weakening U.S. dollar.

Prior to that, there had been no change in tolls since 1998, said James Ward, the vice chairman.

Janice Thomson, chairwoman of the bridge commission, said the upcoming changes are "in response to the prolonged weakness of the U.S. dollar."

e-mail: bmichelmore@buffnews.com

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