New York State Exposed: The cost of driving in NY

Updated: 04/14/2014 6:35 PM
Created: 04/14/2014 7:03 AM WHEC.com
By: Nikki Rudd

Every day, most of us have to get in a car and drive somewhere, whether it's to work, school or the grocery store. The cost of driving can add up, from gas prices to Thruway tolls to registration costs.

Matt Cleckner is a husband and father of three children. He loves to drive. 

Matt Cleckner said, “It's the feel of driving, being out on the road, you got your music going, you're in the zone.”

But when it comes to his kids driving, he’s not just talking about safety. 

Cleckner said, “Honestly, I’m frightened. I know that insurance is going to be expensive.”

How does New York compare to other states when it comes to insurance rates? According to Insure.com, New York’s average car insurance rates rank among the bottom ten in the country. The bad news is other fees and high gas prices.

Cleckner said, “Now it’s almost $4 a gallon and that’s just for regular.”

New York State has some of the highest gas prices in the country. On average, drivers in New York pay 68 cents in taxes per gallon. Fifty one cents of that goes to the state. According to the Tax Foundation, that's the worst in the country. 

Cleckner said, “I try not to look into taxes just because it's one of those things as a taxpayer, kind of annoys you to say the least.”

When the Cleckners registered their 2011 Subaru, it was $52 for two years and that’s not including tax. It also doesn’t include the county use fee, which adds another $10 or $20 to your registration bill.

Paul Haney, Monroe County Legislator, said. “If you're going to charge the public a fee, you better be honest and tell them you're charging the fee, not just slide it in with an innocuous caption like this.”

Democratic Monroe County Legislator Paul Haney says this county use tax was passed in 2007 during a special county legislature meeting with no public comment. Each year, it brings in more than $4 million for Monroe County. It’s not just Monroe; a majority of counties in the state have added this tax. In our area, there are two exceptions. Ontario and Wayne Counties do not have a county use tax. 

So why does Monroe County need it? 

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, “It all goes back to state mandates. You hear me talk about that all the time.”

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks says 83 percent of the county budget is consumed by state and federal mandates. She says the money the county use tax brings in goes to pay for road and bridge projects.

The roads around town aren't the best after the long winter. Studies show New York State has some of the worst road conditions in the country.  The annual highway report from the Reason Foundation ranks the quality of New York’s roadways 45th in the nation, despite spending more than two-and-a-half times the national average on the state's highway system.

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