Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Free the Thruway 500 . . .

Another day, another story about the impending Thruway toll hike. This time truckers say they will be avoiding the Thruway and using secondary roads if the hike goes through. Just what we need on our secondary roads ... more traffic. And, of course, those big rigs will mean more wear and tear on the roads that local municipalities may have to raise taxes to fix.

But those trucks will only be those that HAVE to be on NY roads because they serve a NY clientèle. Trucks that have origins and destinations out of NY will try to avoid the state all together. But worse, BUSINESSES for whom Upstate NY might be a convenient location will avoid coming here to keep the costs of their products low. Others that may be here now may leave.

Without this 500 mile highway, a huge swath of Upstate NY becomes a backwater. If it is priced so that it is not used, it's like not having it at all.

The over arching issue is why do we need the Thruway authority?

Most interstates in the country are toll free, being supported out of general taxes or gasoline taxes. I-81, I-86, I-88, I-495 (LI Expressway), I-84, I-390, I-87 (the portion North of Albany) in NYS are all toll free. There is also the Taconic Pkwy (NYC to Albany areas) and a myriad of Parkways on Long Island which are open to cars only, but are toll free. I-84 deserves special mention because Thruway tolls are used to maintain it!

Essentially, we in the Mohawk Valley are taxed every day to support these free super highways elsewhere in the state -- but are taxed again in the form of tolls when we use our local interstate (I-90) here.


The Mohawk Valley is one of the poorest areas in the state, therefore, New York is literally taxing the poor to support the rich.

It's time to end the unfair treatment, end the bureaucracy, and end the patronage gravy train that is the New York State Thruway Authority. The original bonds that were the reason for the tolls have long been paid off. The federal government even contributed a large sum on top of this. There is no good reason why the Thruway should be treated differently from any other Interstate in New York.

It's time to FREE THE THRUWAY 500.

Since Utica-Rome and Buffalo are the only two metropolitan areas entirely dependent on the Thruway for their connection to the outside world, the legislation to dismantle the Thruway Authority should come from majority-party legislators from these areas. Buffalo, however, just got the Niagara Thruway freed of tolls. Mr. Griffo, Mrs. DeStito, it's now your turn. If you have the guts to place your constituents above your personal political ambitions, you would pick up the gauntlet. And if you do, the machinations to keep the status quo will be interesting to see.


Anonymous said...

Thruway use is down due to the high cost of travel (gas), so they raise the fees to use the thruway, further increasing the cost of travel. Folks will then use the thruway even less due to the price increase, and we're back to square one (or worse). Didn't they teach this stuff in eighth grade economic's?

If enough people boycott using the thruway, they MIGHT get the message. More likely we would see them offering free use of the thruway a couple years from now to promote it's use again,tourism and such, much like they did with the canal.....oh, it's the same geniuses running that too.

Go figure......literally.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Griffo, Mrs. DeStito, it's now your turn?"

Thats asking a little much Strike.... ROFLMAO! Hah While you're wishing on stars.. call on Mike 'Africa' Arcuri to go study german Highways for us too!

It seems those two followers haven't come up with a pack-leading original idea in decades. Let them go about helping their friends and getting some more local grant welfare. Thats about their level of contribution or originality.

You can't get "I.Q." from a stone... A Citizen/Business led initiative would be the only way I could imagine your good idea here could come to fruition. For seperate reasons, I don't see Griffo or Destito taking THAT sort of stand. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Between Fredonia and Buffalo I have seen an incredible increase of police presence(county sheriff, and nys state troopers) along the side roads that can be used to avoid the thruway. They are enforcing such things as missing head lights and busted review mirrors. It has been a topic of discussion in the area that the police have been given the directive to force thru-way avoiders back on the thru-way by petty harassment.