Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C-Melrose) recently condemned a proposal by the New York State Thruway Authority to raise tolls 45 percent on commercial trucks with three or more axles, calling it just another tax that will drive the cost of doing business through the roof. Earlier this week, the toll hike received the initial green light from the Thruway Authority Board. Under the plan, trucks with three or more axles traveling from New York City to Buffalo would pay about $127, up from the current cost of approximately $75. Tolls were last raised on the 641-mile highway system in 2010 for all drivers, increasing the typical toll more than 25 percent.
“Capital Region residents already are suffering under some of the highest taxes in the nation, and residents across New York continue to be saddled with backbreaking taxes and fees from state government,” said McLaughlin. “This toll hike is yet another example of tax-and-spend policies that I’ve been fighting against over the last two years. In a state that currently ranks 49th in the nation for business-friendly environment, another fee will simply drive more people out of the state. The Thruway Authority Board is ludicrous to think that a massive cost increase will simply be absorbed by the trucking industry with no impact on hardworking residents. State government needs to be cutting taxes and eliminating fees to spur job creation, not piling on even more.”
According to the Truck Info Web site, there is an estimated 8.9 million people employed in trucking-related jobs nationwide, with nearly 3.5 million truck drivers, many of whom are independent owners and operators. Nationally, there are 1.2 million trucking companies with 97 percent operating 20 or fewer trucks, and 90 percent operating six or fewer trucks. The U.S. economy depends on trucks to deliver nearly 70 percent of all freight that is transported annually, accounting for $671 billion worth of manufactured and retail goods carried by trucks.
“With the price of diesel currently around $4.50 a gallon, this fee won’t just hurt the industry, but will drive up costs in the day-to-day lives of Capital Region residents. From apples and oranges at the grocery store to wood and nails at the lumber yard, the cost of doing business in New York will simply skyrocket if this hike is implemented,” concluded McLaughlin.