Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
April 25, 2008

Tedisco: Assembly Majority's "Smokescreen" Won't Hide Their Failure To Stop Thruway Toll Hike
Renews call for passage of Minority legislation to take toll hikes out of the hands of "unelected bureaucrats" at the Thruway Authority

Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today blasted the Assembly Majority for "putting up a smokescreen" to hide their failure in stopping the most recent Thruway toll hike. Tedisco also called for passage of an Assembly Minority initiative to prevent the Thruway Authority from raising tolls, along with increased legislative oversight of the Authority's operations.

"When it comes to stopping the Thruway toll hike, the Assembly Majority has talked a good game. Sadly, that's all they have done: talk. Talk is cheap - Thruway toll hikes are expensive. Instead of following up their talk with action, the Assembly Majority has retreated behind a smokescreen to hide their failure in stopping the Thruway toll hike," Tedisco stated.

"The simple fact of the matter is that the Assembly Majority could have stopped this Thruway toll hike from going forward. It had the power to pass legislation sponsored by our Assembly Minority Conference - Assembly Bill A.9616 - that would have taken the ability to enact a toll hike out of the hands of unelected bureaucrats at the Thruway Authority and ensured any such decision came before the 150 members of our state Assembly. Last I checked, the voters did not elect anyone at the Thruway Authority, but they did elect their Assembly representatives," Tedisco said.

"Only in New York could a handful of unaccountable bureaucrats be vested with such power. Our legislation would serve as an effective 'check' on the Thruway Authority's ability to raise tolls without proper input or oversight from the Legislature. As evidenced by their recent penchant for enacting multiple toll hikes with little or no justification, it appears that the Thruway Authority is the poster boy for increased legislative oversight of New York's spendthrift public authorities. I think the Authority should have taken a good, long look in the mirror to see if there was any fat that could have been trimmed before it went ahead with this recent toll hike," Tedisco stated.

"It boggles the mind that the Thruway Authority rammed through another increase in tolls when middle class New Yorkers are getting squeezed by record-high taxes, fuel and food costs. I'm not sure who is more out of touch with reality: the Thruway Authority that keeps asking for higher tolls, or the Assembly Majority that keeps letting it happen. One thing is clear: both the Thruway Authority and the Assembly Majority just don't get it. They fail to understand that higher tolls and taxes won't solve New York's affordability crisis, but will actually make it much worse," Tedisco said.

"It's time for the Speaker and my Majority colleagues to stop wringing their hands and wagging their tongues - they need to bring our legislation to the floor as it would increase accountability and stop this pattern of toll tax increases," Tedisco concluded.

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