Hawley Blasts Thruway Toll Hike

Cost increase will cripple businesses, kill jobs
June 4, 2012

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) recently blasted the Thruway Authority Board for approving the first step toward a 45 percent toll hike on commercial trucks with three or more axles. Hawley pointed to a litany of ways in which the proposal would hurt businesses, consumers, taxpayers and the economy as a whole.

“There are so many things wrong with this toll hike, it’s difficult to decide what the worst part may be,” said Hawley. “This proposal will eliminate jobs for New Yorkers as trucking companies move out of the state and avoid doing business in New York entirely. The cost increase will be passed on to consumers as companies increase the price of their goods in order to re-coup the lost capital. Trucks will be forced to travel local roads in an attempt to avoid the tolls, causing the need for expensive repairs to local roadways like Route 63 that taxpayers will be forced to fund. In addition, driving hazards will increase by adding more large trucks to local traffic. The real question here is how could someone possibly think a 45 percent commercial toll hike is a good idea?”

Thruway Authority Chairman Howard Milstein called the 45 percent hike a “modest increase,” even though the proposal would increase a trip between Buffalo and New York City for applicable trucks to roughly $127.

“In Western New York, we know that a 45 percent spike in tolls is anything but a ‘modest increase,’” said Hawley. “While the Legislature works to reverse the irresponsible, job-killing taxes and fees that have plagued state government for years, unelected bureaucrats are working directly against our effort to re-open New York for business. This is completely unacceptable, and I urge Western New Yorkers to join me in making our voice heard against this irresponsible policy.”

The Thruway Authority is required to hold public hearings on the matter before implementing the toll hike. Details on the hearings have yet to be released.