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.