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.