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OBPA looking to attract more truck traffic over bridge

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OGDENSBURG — The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority is taking steps to increase the usage of the Ogdensburg-Prescott Bridge through a campaign aimed at truckers who transport goods across the U.S.-Canada border.

OBPA is undertaking a $20,000 campaign to advertise incentives such as lower costs and wait times in Canada over the next few months. It’s a worthwhile investment, OBPA Deputy Executive Director Frederick S. Morrill said.

“We predicted that would bring in extra truck traffic — about 5 percent,” Mr. Morrill said. “We have received several responses to our (request for proposals) and we expect to award the contract next month.”

Truck tolls depend on the number of axles, but typically do not exceed $10, Mr. Morrill said. The toll per two-axle automobile is $2.75.

Mr. Morrill said he predicts a 1.9 percent increase in automobile traffic this year as well. Car traffic was up 4.3 percent from April to December 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. He said OBPA will consider a campaign targeting more cars.

Tolls account for about $2.5 million of the agency’s $6.4 million budget, Mr. Morrill said.

He predicts an increase in total bridge toll revenue this year, despite the 1 percentage-point increase in St. Lawrence County sales tax that took effect in December and a strengthening U.S. dollar that might result in fewer Canadian shoppers.

“The sales tax does not impact the shoppers, but the shoppers do impact the amount of sales tax revenue that is generated in the county,” Mr. Morrill said. “Canadian shoppers make decisions based on how much they can get with their purchasing dollar and their value.”

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