Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thruway Toll Relief MIA in State of the State

One thing I was sad the Governor chose not to mention in his State of the State Address yesterday was the need to stop the proposed Thruway toll hikes. In light of the 10 percent toll hike that just went into effect on January 6th and the recently proposed additional 10 percent increase – five percent of which would take effect in 2009 and five percent occurring in 2010, respectively – you’d think this would have been something worthy of comment by our state’s Chief Executive.

While the Governor was silent on this issue yesterday, there’s still time to act. The state Thruway Authority is planning on making a final determination later this spring on the additional toll hike. If the Governor is sincere on reducing our state’s crippling tax burden and revitalizing Upstate New York, then I would hope he’d join me and my conference in supporting legislation requiring the Legislature’s approval for any change in Thruway tolls. This issue is too important to leave up to a handful of unelected, unaccountable, faceless bureaucrats – it should be decided by the 212 duly elected men and women of our state Legislature.

My legislation – Assembly Bill A.9616 – would require legislative approval of any increased fees, rental or charges for the use of the Thruway. I’ve spoken to Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and he’s assured me the Senate will pass similar legislation.

It’s already far too expensive to live, work and raise a family in New York. Increasing Thruway tolls by another 10 percent would only add to the considerable financial burdens faced by New Yorkers, especially upstate.

No comments: