Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Upstate Transportation Tax

Nice to see Assemblywoman Tenney speaking out against the new Thruway toll hike on trucks.  More of .... no ... ALL of our upstate legislators should be raising hell over this outrageous selective tax on transportation between most major upstate New York cities.  All the talk from the governor about wanting to help the Upstate economy is just that ... Talk.  Same goes for the state legislature.

The Thruway needs to be treated like other Interstate Highways in New York State.  I-81 from the PA to the Canadian border, I-87 from Albany to Canada, I-88 from Binghamton to Albany, I-86 across the Southern Tier, I-390 south of Rochester, I-84 in the lower Hudson Valley, I-495 from NYC to Riverhead, Long Island -- They are All FREE.

Why should the Thruway have its own separate bureaucracy at this point in time?  The Federal government at former US Senator Moynihan's urging gave NYS the money to pay for the Thruway in the late 1980s -- It should have been made free then.  The original bonds for the Thruway were paid off in 1996 -- The Thruway should have been made free then.  What has happened since is that because this was a separate stream of revenue --- and provided a nice place to put patronage jobs -- the no-longer-needed structure of the Thruway Authority was maintained.  So main-line Upstate cities are stuck with the transportation tax that is not imposed elsewhere in NYS.

It is a drag on our economy.

The time to dismantle the Thruway Authority and fold its responsibilities into the Department of Transportation is NOW.


Anonymous said...

And then they slipped the canal folks under the Thruway Authority umbrella and created an even larger monster.

Why should a trucking company, traversing the state of NY with a cargo bound for some ultimate destination be saddled with the costs of maintaining the canal system, primarily for use by pleasure boats?

High tolls already have driven a lot of trucks off of the Thruway onto parallel routes. Routes more dangerous, exposing automobiles to increased numbers of large trucks and subsequent increased exposure to accidents. Not to mention the higher fuel costs of the stop and go trip as opposed to interstate driving.

It IS time for the Thruway to be relegated to the role of an ordinary FREE access interstate highway. NY needs to simply find some other way to raise that revenue. A way to raise it without laying the responsibility for NY's highway maintenance and canal maintenence where it belongs, without crippling interstate commerce passing through your state.

Anonymous said...

And when the state raises gasoline taxes in order to maintain the thruway, then what? And since when do only upstate trucker's have to pay this toll? I didn't know that downstate trucker's were exepmpt. So why don't we refrain from the upstate vs. downstate nonsense.

Strikeslip said...

When the state raises gasoline taxes to maintain the thruway, transportation between mainline upstate cities will no longer be more expensive than transportation elsewhere in the state ... AND we would have eliminated a huge duplicative bureaucracy to support.

Upstate vs Downstate is hardly nonsense. Upstate grew due to cheap transportation (Erie Canal) and cheap power(hydydropower) compared with other parts of the country. The thruway toll and sending power downstate to lessen downstate rarates has now made upstate a more expensive place to do business than competiting regions. That is why our economy is inn shambles and there are no jobs.

Anonymous said...

It is not an upstate downstate issue as much as it is an issue for OUT OF STATE truckers traveling into or through the state. I remember when I traveled regularly from Utica to Long Island, onward to NE New Jersey and back to Utica that it cost well over $100 a day in tolls. Most of which went to the NY Thruway Authority. Many truckers waste a lot of time and a lot of fuel to avoid paying those high tolls. The tolls have become oppressive to the trucking business.

Dave said...

Despite the Niagara Falls project, I think hydro power in NY State is still very small. And in the U.S. in 2011, only 3.5% of electricity was hydro.
I can't find the chart, but per kilowatt hour price of electricity has always ... always ... been more downstate than upstate.

Here's a thought provoking article, "Why Are Electric Rates So High In New York?":

Central New York's economy is in a shambles because, a) it is politically SOL , due to so much party inbreeding. It's a wonder all your pols don't have six toes. But you might want to ask the next one who comes to your door to take off his shoes and socks.
And b) the money and the economic engines are in New York City, with Albany as a strongly related satellite. The rest of the state gets the crumbs.
The power is with the banks and they ain't upstate. The Feds have a degree of power only when they can start a war, and they were indeed able to place military business upstate, but no longer. The Feds today are all Washington oriented agencies. And, oh yes, there are the inconsequential side shows known as the White House and the United States Congress. Their purpose is to make us feel represented.

Keith said...

When I moved here in 1984 I did not have a lot of familiarity with toll roads. The portion of the trip from Chicago to Utica was instructive but I didn't realize what the lesson was until later.

On that 750 miles of toll road New York was the only state to have people (well paid people) standing in metal boxes handing out bits of cardboard. Everywhere else the job was being done by a push button.

Twenty eight years later we still keep these patronage jobs alive and Illinois can scan my NY issued EZPass while I drive under the scanner at 65 MPH.