The state Thruway Authority’s decision to begin the process of hiking tolls on most commercial truck traffic is already receiving significant pushback from truckers and lawmakers.
Yesterday, the authority’s board voted to get the ball rolling on a 45 percent toll increase — termed by Board Chairman Howard Milstein as “modest” — on vehicles with three or more axles. The hike, which first needs to be subjected to an environmental review and public hearings before it can be implemented, would apply to the toll portions of the state’s superhighway, as well as the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Late yesterday evening, Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Charles Fuschillo, R-Nassau County, issued a statement blasting the proposed increase.
“A 45 percent toll increase would dramatically raise costs on trucking companies that are transporting goods across the state,” he said. “While this is characterized a commercial toll increase, businesses will not be the only ones affected. Ultimately, consumers will pay for these cost increases in the form of higher prices on all types of goods.”
For good measure, Fuschillo closed with a pun: “I urge the Thruway Authority to put the brakes on this toll increase and continue to find savings internally through improved efficiencies as a
way to improve its finances.”
The toll hike, which Thruway Authority officials said would be paired with cuts to the agency’s operations, was also panned in a statement today by the NYS Motor Trucks Association.
“The majority of trucking companies in New York State are small businesses that can’t afford another toll increase. Over $1 billion in thruway toll revenue in the past decade has been used to fund the canal system,” association President Kendra Adams said in a statement. “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.”