The New York Thruway Authority’s $2 billion budget plan for next year includes nearly $1 billion to keep building a new Tappan Zee Bridge in the lower Hudson Valley.

Executive Director Thomas Madison said that by the end of 2015, the authority and Canal Corp. will reduce operating costs more than $200 million with personnel reductions and expense controls and refinance old debt to save $100 million.

He said that will help “keep tolls as low as possible” while advancing the project.

Bridge expenses are nearly $750 million this year from new borrowing.

The fiscally conservative Empire Center says the toll revenue targets in the budget adopted Friday equate to a roughly 4 percent system-wide toll increase in 2015.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said tolls depend on the level of state subsidy.

© 2014 Associated Press

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