Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, January 4, 2008

As Thruway Toll Hike Deadline Approaches, Tedisco Calls On Speaker Silver & Governor Spitzer To Act
Pass and sign Assembly Bill A.9616

Saying it's not enough for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to merely talk about stopping the proposed 10 percent Thruway toll hike, Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today challenged him and Governor Eliot Spitzer to pass the Assembly Minority Conference's legislation requiring the Legislature's approval for any change in Thruway tolls.

The 2005 approved Thruway toll hike for cash customers is slated to take effect on January 6, 2008. The recently proposed 10 percent hike - five percent of which would take effect in 2009 and five percent occurring in 2010, respectively - is slated to receive final determination by the State Thruway Authority later this spring.

"Speaker Silver has talkedů and talkedů and talked about stopping the proposed Thruway toll hike but, at the end of the day, that's all he's done: talk. Neither he, nor Governor Spitzer, have offered a realistic solution to stop the toll hike from going forward. All New Yorkers have gotten has been political posturing and press releases - but no practical legislative remedies," Tedisco stated.

"Unlike Speaker Silver, our Conference hasn't just talked about this issue, we've actually listened to our constituent's outrage and advanced legislation requiring legislative approval for any change in Thruway tolls. We believe this issue is too important to leave up to a handful of unelected, unaccountable, faceless bureaucrats - it should be decided by the 212 duly elected men and women of our state Legislature," Tedisco said.

Tedisco's legislation - Assembly Bill A.9616 - would amend Section 354 of the State's Public Authority Law to require legislative approval of any increased fees, rental or charges for the use of the Thruway. The initiative also stipulates that any shortfalls in revenue resulting from a denied proposal would be made up through the state's general fund. The bill was last referred to the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions. Senator Hugh Farley (R,C-Schenectady) has recently indicated he will introduce a companion bill for Tedisco's legislation in the Senate when the Legislature reconvenes.

"It's already far too expensive to live, work and raise a family in New York. Increasing Thruway tolls by 10 percent would only add to the considerable financial burdens already faced by New Yorkers, especially upstate. It's why our Conference was out first in vocally opposing the Thruway toll hike, held extensive statewide public hearings and introduced a genuine legislative remedy to ensure the toll increase doesn't go forward," Tedisco stated.

"Overtaxed, overregulated, overburdened New Yorkers deserve better than Speaker Silver and Governor Spitzer just giving lip service to stopping the looming Thruway toll hike. If they're truly serious about preventing it from going forward, they will support passage of our legislation. Our Conference is calling on Speaker Silver and Governor Spitzer to stop talking and start listening - and leading," Tedisco concluded.

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