The Thruway is a vital resource in the Capital Region, connecting us to the far reaches of our state. That said, here in upstate New York, we pay more than our fair share, and I'm ready to fight tooth and nail against any toll hikes on upstate drivers to pay for the Tappan Zee Bridge. It's completely unfair to make our families and businesses pay for construction of a bridge that's more than 150 miles away!
It's what's been pitched in the past and it looks like we're heading down a similar path once again. While the tolls are frozen until 2020, as was recently indicated, tolls from the entire Thruway after 2020, could be used to pay for the construction of the new bridge.
This proposal is simply unacceptable. The Thruway system covers hundreds of miles and it doesn't make sense to funnel so many of our resources statewide into one downstate bridge, especially considering those upstate have alternative routes to use when traveling downstate. Hiking tolls for all would place an unfair and hefty burden on our upstate communities. We should instead be focusing on repairing and maintaining our own local roads and bridges.
This is a fight we had before and won, and together we can do it again. In 2012, when a 45 percent toll hike on large trucks was proposed, I called for its immediate withdrawal in a letter to the Thruway Authority; and again in 2014, we successfully fought back against a similar proposal to increase tolls to pay for the Tappan Zee Bridge. As your Assemblyman, I'm ready to do it again!