NY Thruway proposes toll increase for big trucks
Posted at: 05/30/2012 9:07 PM
| Updated at: 05/31/2012 7:27 PM
By: Ray Levato | WHEC.com
The New York State Thruway Authority is proposing another toll hike – not for passenger cars but for vehicles with three axles or more.
According to calculations, the proposal would bump up prices 45-percent, making the cost of a trip between Syracuse and Rochester more than $27. The EZPass goes up too.
News10NBC went to the Seneca Travel Plaza between Canandaigua and Victor and asked truckers if they had ever heard of a 45-percent toll increase before anywhere.
Eddy Smith halls furniture from Tennessee. He said, “I've heard of toll increases, but never 45-percent. They'd have to pass it on to the customers. They wouldn't have any choice.”
The Thruway Authority plans to use some of the new toll revenue for replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge north of New York City.
Tom Pierce, a trucker from Pennsylvania said, “That doesn't make any sense. Why should we have to pay for it? We've got to make a living too.”
Eric Grass from Missouri said, “A lot of owner-operators don't like going on toll roads out here because it costs so much. But as a company, they want us to get it there as fast as we can, so we take the faster route which is usually the toll road.”
Wegmans declined to comment on the proposed toll increase but directed us to its trade association in Albany.
Jim Rogers of the Food Industry Alliance of New York State said, “This 45-percent fee increase on tolls will be borne to a great extent by our customers in higher food prices. Since food stores also take deliveries daily from trucks, then this also has a multiplier effect.”
Because just about everything moves on trucks, News10NBC asked people at the travel plaza --will this cost eventually be passed down to us?
Susan Haney said, “Well, sure, in the long run it always does. Because it just comes down to us and then prices will go up and everything else.”
That's a view shared by this saleswoman Elaine Brink who says she logs about 45,000 miles a year, a lot of it on the Thruway. “Absolutely, that was my first thought that it's going to get passed on to the consumer. I think we're all going to pay for it in the long run. And I don't know where the money is really going to go.”
The new toll hike would affect any motorist with three or more axles on the ground. For example -- pulling your boat or trailer, a motor home pulling a car -- so this isn't just for over-the-road trucks.
This is just a proposal and there would be public hearings. In 2008 and 2010, despite widespread opposition, the Thruway went ahead and raised tolls.