Assembly members Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) and Steve McLaughlin (R,C-Melrose) are keeping the pressure on the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) to hold a public hearing in the Capital Region on its proposed 45 percent toll hike or the legislators will hold their own on September 5th.
The Capital Region is the only area in the state served by the Thruway that has not been given the opportunity to weigh-in on the controversial toll increase, which has been universally panned by businesses and taxpayers that must travel the road regularly.
On Monday, McLaughlin and Tedisco wrote NYSTA Chairman Howard Milstein requesting that a public hearing on the toll hike be held in the Capital Region. To date, there has been no response to that request from the Thruway Authority. Today, Tedisco and McLaughlin have written Milstein giving the NYSTA until 5 p.m. on Friday, August 24 to schedule a public hearing on the 45 percent toll hike.
“The taxpayers and small businesses in the Capital Region that rely on the Thruway each and every day deserve to have their voices heard by the leadership of the Thruway Authority who want to impose a job-killing 45 percent toll hike on New Yorkers ,” said Tedisco, former Minority Leader and current Assistant Minority Whip. “Our message today is clear: one way or another, taxpayers will have their say on the proposed toll hike. Either the Thruway can do the right thing and listen to the people or they’ll hear from all of us on September 5!”
“Thruway Authority officials drove through the ‘EZ-Pass’ lane and forgot about those in our area who would be severely impacted by this massive tax hike,” said McLaughlin. “If the Thruway Authority has any ideas about implementing this toll hike, they should give the Capital Region the opportunity to speak and hold a public meeting for our area. I have spoken with multiple truck drivers, industry professionals, small-business owners and homeowners who could face devastating consequences. The Thruway Authority needs to hold a public hearing in the Capital Region, but if not, we’ll do it ourselves.”
Tedisco and McLaughlin strongly emphasized that the September 5 public meeting they would hold on the proposed toll hike would be non-partisan and that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle would be invited to attend and participate. Details of the potential September 5 legislative forum will be announced next week subject to NYSTA failing to positively respond to the Assembly members’ request by Friday.