The toll for a three-axle truck going from Buffalo to New York City is currently around $88. With the proposed toll hikes, that could be $127. Tolls were most recently raised on the 641-mile cross-state highway system in 2010 by more than 25% for all drivers, AP reports.
"When you are looking at a 45% increase, right, wrong or indifferent it's going to encourage trucks to use roads other than the Thruway," Kendra Adams, executive director of the New York State Motor Truck Association told AP. "Small companies with only 1% to 2% profit margin, we're jeopardizing their ability to operate," she said. "The trickle down of that is that we ultimately start to increase the cost of goods in New York state again."
Funds from the tolls would not go toward replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge, which stretches over the Hudson River. In a letter to board members, the Thruway Executive Director Thomas Madison, appointed by Gov. Cuomo, said the bridge project "will be addressed with separate financing," reports AP. Instead, money would go to help repair damage caused by the big trucks.
"The majority of trucking companies in New York State are small businesses that can't afford another toll increase," said NYSMTA in a statement. "Over $1 billion in Thruway-toll revenue in the past decade has been used to fund the canal system. If the Thruway wants to increase tolls they first need to stop spending $100 million a year on the canals. Commerce, jobs and road infrastructure are more important than leisure boating."
Before the board can enact the toll increase, further study and public hearings will take place.