Sunday, January 06, 2008

Kicking Upstate in the Assets

Well "they" did it again. "They" being the Thruway Authority which increased tolls another 10% last night. "They" being our do-nothing state legislators who failed to introduce legislation to cut the legs out from the Thruway Authority by doing away with its existence. "They" being our Mohawk Valley mayors, county executives, city/town/village/county legislative bodies and EDGE officials (communities for which the Thruway is the only interstate alternative) who failed to raise their voices from their bully pulpits in protest. "They" being the editorial staffs of our local newspapers who can complain about a governor not delivering jobs, but who failed to demand one specific thing that could help create them: removal of the tolls and dismantlement of the Thruway Authority.

Upstate's assets are what made it once competitive: Cheap Transportation, Cheap Hydropower, and abundant water. (Read Edward Glaeser's "Can Buffalo Ever Come Back" for a good explanation of our past.) So when Albany taxes our transportation, sends the "cheap" hydropower down state, and creates agencies that mismanage our water, what does that do for Upstate's competitiveness?

Let's focus on transportation. I am no fan of potential integration of the US, Canada and Mexico into a "North American Union," and replacing US manufacturing with a transportation network for overseas goods. If that is going to happen, however, then transportation will be king and transportation-related endeavors will generate jobs -- lots of them.

Why cannot Upstate, and Utica-Rome in particular, given its prime location between the population centers of the East Coast, Mid West and Southern Canada, remake itself into an "inland port?" Griffiss with its long runways and location away from congested flight areas would be its prime asset.

No . . . It will not be possible because we have accepted policies that turn Upstate, and the Mohawk Valley in particular, into a Transportation Backwater. That is exactly what the Thruway Tolls do.

And that is exactly why they need to be done away with.


Rebecca Mecomber said...

Whew! I used the Thruway last night; the tolls are pricey enough!

I tell ya, Strike, the GubMent is doing all this on purpose... they WANT to see Upstate go down. They want to drive out as many as they can, take the land and resources, and open the borders to create a Northeast "region." People who remain will be forced to accept government handouts to even exist. How long can we excuse their actions as ignorance, stupidity, or laziness? I look around and I just don't buy into that anymore.

Anonymous said...


I think a house-cleaning is long overdue here and in Albany.

Mrs. M's comments don't fall on deaf ears either.

Anonymous said...

I agree as well as disagree with the above argument. I am grappling with two questions: Is it the grand plan to turn upstate into a vast wasteland much as the “ghost towns” of the Midwest during the Gold Rush days? Or perhaps is it the inept local public officials that blindly follow the politically savvy ones that fuel their blind acceptance of our demise? One fact is for sure, their silence is deafening! The sin is that they both profit from slowly killing this community.

There is another point that I would like to bring to the reader’s attention; I believe this is the first time that a governing entity favors plastic over cash. EZ-pass users will now pay a premium for using cash to pay for their toll when traveling on the thruway. I believe that New York has become the first state of the union to join the international community with devaluating the United States dollar. My late father was right on the money when he said that; “you will see the day when plastic will replace the almighty dollar.” Well dad, I hope that you can read this blog from beyond, because . . . YOU WERE RIGHT! However, I’ll wager that good-old-dad would never have thought it possible that New York would be one of the first U.S. states to attack its own currency.

So what should we think? Are our political officials simply stupid, or is this seemingly stupid political maneuvering some sort of super intellectual plot to kill this community along with the U.S. dollar? What’s next? Perhaps New York could extend its new toll paying policy to extend this discount to those thruway users paying their toll with the Eurodollar, Paso or the Yen.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree.

Thruway tolls are nothing but another NYS tax on upstaters.

Here's something to think about - why not offer residents a deduction on their NYS taxes for tolls paid? That way, the out of staters continue to pay.

Heck, that idea should have been put on the table by Griffo. But it wasn't. His office is being run by amateurs.

Anonymous said...

This was the final straw. I am making plans to move down south, to a place that is much friendlier than the State of New York.

I am moving to North Carolina where the taxes are reasonable and the climate is great.

Hope to see many more New Yorkers moving South.

Anonymous said...

OK, the thruway tolls are making you move? Yeah right.

Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

It sounds more like a "Straw that broke the Camel's back issue" I believe them, I'm trying to sell my small business and house myself why is that so hard to believe?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: One bit of advice about NC....we're in a horrible drought, so be aware, most places down here are under water restrictions and there is talk that we might run out of drinking water. I'm already concerned about my garden that I usually plant in April. If we don't get any rain, I won't be able to water it and I'll have no tomatoes! :-o And if you want good pizza, bring it with you! Although, I will say that I've found a pretty good chain pizza place, which, interestingly, is out of Michigan, I believe. It's called Hungry Howie's and I always get my pizza from them. Where in NC are you thinking about moving to? If it's the triad area, let me know...I can give you tips. AND...there are two empty lots on my cul-de-sac...I'd love it if someone would put a house on one or both of them!

About the concern that we might run out of drinking water: I'm optimistic. I don't really think that's going to happen. We do have water, but it's stuck in a dam that they need to build a pipeline for so we can have access to it. They're working on it. Soon we should no longer have these worries. I hope.

Oh, and...CNY isn't that bad. Taxes are high, yes, jobs aren't plentiful, true, but it's a beautiful area. I look forward to my vacations up there. It'd be a great place to live if you were rich! If we win that lottery we'll move back. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Back from New Hampshire. Gas $3.02, State run liquor stores, wine in the supermarkets. low sales taxes and toll free roads. Nice. Economy booming!!!

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to those people who continue to sit on their butts and do nothing.

Moving South will keep me away from people who are complacent and do absolutely nothing to help.

So long Upstate New York. Welcome, North Carolina...sunshine, lower utility bills, lower taxes and less snobbery.

RomeHater said...

I read that somthing like half of Mexico would move to the US if it were possible. I wonder how high the percentage would be for upstate NY. During a situation involving property taxes, I was planning to move. Eventually, if I can find a stable job in another part of the country, I may go south or west myself.