Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C– Batavia) joined with Senators George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) and Mary Lou Rath (R-C-I, Williamsville) in opposing the New York State Thruway Authority’s proposal to raise Thruway tolls by as much as twenty percent over the next three years.
“Here in Western New York, driving is a fact of life and for better or worse, many of our daily commutes are along the Thruway. Proposing to raise the tolls here in Western New York only makes earning a living that much harder for our residents who are already overburdened with outrageous property taxes in order to sustain our state,” commented Hawley.
Earlier this month, the Authority announced that their Audit and Finance Committee recommended implementing increased tolls in order to preserve funding for their Capital Improvement Plan due to a reduction in travel resulting from increased gasoline prices.
Across the state and especially in Western New York, minority lawmakers have adamantly opposed this plan. In fact, the Assembly minority has called upon State Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, to conduct an audit of the Authority. Due to the increased political pressure, the State Comptroller has agreed to conduct the audit and the Authority has agreed to hold any toll increases until the audit is completed.
Additionally, Hawley continues working to ensure commuter’s wallets are protected. He encourages every New Yorker that commutes on the Thruway to sign up for the Authority’s E-Z Pass Tag Specific Commuter Discount Plan. For a flat annual fee of $80 (or pro-rated depending on when you sign up), this plan covers the first 30 miles or less per trip for frequent travelers on the Thruway. For a commuter traveling from Exit 48 (Batavia) to Exit 53 (downtown Buffalo), the average yearly toll savings would be $445 (versus paying with cash) or $385 (versus using basic E-Z Pass).
“I encourage every commuter to sign up for this important program right away and I will work to further reduce tolls for Thruway commuters,” said Hawley. “To find out more about the program or to calculate your estimated savings, please visit the Authority’s official website at www.nysthruway.gov.”