In what could prove to be a precedent-setting case, county
officials and private businesses near Buffalo, NY, have banded together in a
lawsuit against the New York Thruway Authority, claiming the Thruway’s
tollbooths have cost the area economic development.
Erie County Executive Joel Giambra and local businessman
Carl Paladino have teamed up to file a lawsuit against the Thruway, alleging
that the South Ogden and Breckenridge toll booths on Interstate 90 discourage
economic growth in downtown Buffalo, according to Newsday.
Originally, tolls on the road were to end after the original
bonds that funded the project were paid off in 1996. However, Thruway officials
later changed that and said users of the road, not all of the state’s
taxpayers, should pay for its upkeep.
According to Buffalo Business First, the two toll
booths – which were added in 1956 and are the only booths on the entire toll
road that charge a fee to enter a city’s downtown area – generate $11 million
in revenue each year, but only cost the Thruway about $4 million to operate.
Paladino has even vowed to spend $35,000 of his own money on
“It’s time to go to the courts and ruffle some feathers,” Paladino told Business First. “We’ve been hearing the booths are coming
down for the past 30 years. They are truly a barrier to development in our