Toll Increase Raises Concern Over State Spending

October 9, 2007
Over the past few years, New York state drivers have been paying through the nose at the pump while the state continues to profit from some of the highest gas taxes in the nation. Yet it is not enough to quench the state’s thirst for your hard-earned money.

Now, the Thruway Authority has announced plans to hike tolls for Thruway users claiming that the high cost of fuel has driven down the use of our state’s toll system.

However, if we follow their logic on why fewer drivers are traveling the Thruway, then a better solution would be to reduce gas taxes instead of increasing tolls. Increasing tolls will result in even fewer people traveling on the Thruway and choosing, instead, to drive on non-toll roads.

While I supported the Thruway Authority’s decision to increase tolls by 25 percent a few years ago, it was the first increase in 18 years. Now, just two years later, the Thruway Authority is planning another increase, and I call upon the Thruway Authority Board to rethink their plan to increase tolls before they burden New York state drivers with another tax increase.

Currently, truck traffic is high on many local routes as many tractor-trailers seek toll-free roads as an alternative to paying for the Thruway. Increasing fees will likely divert more traffic onto alternative roads, decreasing the quality of life in our local towns and villages.

Furthermore, a toll increase is not a welcomed idea to New Yorkers, who have seen sharp increases in their taxes and cost of living.

Instead of trying to milk the taxpayers of this great state out of more of their hard-earned money, the Thruway Authority should look to other states with comparable systems for viable alternatives. Perhaps the state should be required to use more of the taxes they collect on gasoline to repair the state’s roads, bridges and toll roads, including the Thruway. New Yorkers already pay too much for the services they receive, and my question to the Thruway Authority is, where does all the money go?