New York Thruway Backs Off Toll Proposal
February 17, 2000
Under pressure from everyone from the trucking industry to the governor, the New York Thruway Authority said it will reconsider its proposed toll hike.
The Associated Press reports the Authority is looking at other ways to pay for improvements it says is needed on the tollway, at the request of Gov. George Pataki.
In late January, the Thruway board adopted a plan to let tolls increase by as much as 3% each year. The increases would have been determined by a 20-city building expense standard called the Construction Cost Index. The first toll increase would have been June 1 at 1.8%.
Pataki said he did not even know the plan was going to be voted on by the board members, despite the fact that he appointed all three members of the Thruway board. It isn't the first time the governor has quashed a toll hike. In 1996 he got the Authority to back down from another planned toll increase.
Pataki wasn't the only one who disliked the plan. Trucking and other business interests had criticized the proposal, and the leaders of both chambers of the state Legislature had vowed to block any increase legislatively.
State Assembly Republicans have proposed to take away from the Thruway Authority the responsibility of running the state's historic barge canal system. Truckers already don't like the fact that their tolls go to pay for the canals. The tolls have been paying for the canal system since it was transferred to the Thruway Authority from the state Department of Transportation in 1992 when the state was in financial troubles. However, that would require state taxpayers to pay for the canal's operations.