The Delaware River Port Authority's budget will be about 8 percent higher next year, but there will be no toll increase on DRPA bridges and no fare increase on the PATCO commuter rail line, officials said Wednesday.
The proposed 2014 operating budget for the agency is $278 million, compared with this year's $258 million. The DRPA board is expected to approve the spending plan Wednesday.
The biggest increase is $17 million in debt service, because the DRPA borrowed about $500 million this month to pay for bridge repairs and PATCO vehicle upgrades.
About half of the agency's spending will be in principal and interest and related costs on its $1.6 billion in debt.
The agency expects to collect $290 million in tolls on its four bridges next year, the same as this year, and about $26 million in PATCO fares, a 2 percent decline.
Tolls and fares provide 97 percent of the DRPA's revenue.
PATCO ridership - and revenue - is expected to fall next year, after a decade of growth, because extensive repairs on the tracks over the Ben Franklin Bridge will make train commutes take longer.
"We expect some people will say, 'I'm going to get in my car and not take PATCO,' " said DRPA chief executive John Matheussen, outlining PATCO's plans to limit trains to a single track on the bridge for much of 2014.
The cost of operating the bridges and PATCO is budgeted to rise 2 percent, to $133.8 million, next year. Most of that increase is because of higher employee pension costs, chief financial officer John Hanson said.
DRPA Chairman David Simon praised the "financial discipline" of the proposed budget and noted that actual spending might be lower than budgeted, as it is this year.
This year, DRPA operations are about $6 million under budget.
The proposed capital budget for 2014, used for major construction projects and vehicle purchases, is $163 million, up from $119 million this year.
Almost half of next year's capital spending - $70 million - is earmarked for the track rehabilitation, and $33 million is for the refurbishing of PATCO's 120 rail cars.
And $16 million will be spent next year to begin a $121 million deleading and repainting of the Commodore Barry Bridge.