OOIDA members sound off against New York's toll proposal

By Reed Black, Land Line Now staff reporter | 8/17/2012

The second of three public hearings on the proposed 45 percent toll increase for trucks only on the New York State Thruway took place Friday, Aug. 17, in Syracuse.

Several OOIDA members testified – including Senior Member Terry Button of Rushville, NY, who says it was difficult to sit still while members of the Thruway Authority board tried to justify the huge increase.

“It was pretty painful that those directors of the authority could sit up there and tells us how they need this 45 percent toll increase and everything when the first thing out of their mouth should have been why they wanted to raise it 45 percent,” Button told “Land Line Now.”

“I want to hear how they were going to cut their costs 45 percent on the New York State Thruway, not raise my tolls and our members’ tolls 45 percent.”

Back in May, the Thruway Authority adopted a report from a hired consulting firm that said heavy trucks were not paying their fair share on the Thruway. The result was a suggested 45 percent toll increase on trucks only.

Opponents say the increase will add 10 cents a mile to trucking costs. The current $88 toll for a tractor-trailer traveling from Buffalo to New York City, for example, would increase to $127 under the proposal. And that’s not including a recently announced toll increase for the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The Thruway toll increases promise to put more trucks on secondary roadways, something upstate New York residents have strongly opposed to in the past.

Small-business truckers are not alone in opposing a 45 percent truck-only toll increase on the New York State Thruway. State lawmakers are speaking out, along with a coalition that includes the New York Motor Truck Association, New York Farm Bureau, manufacturers, grocery stores and retailers.

The last of the public hearings was scheduled for the Hilton Garden Inn at Newburgh from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 18.

Land Line Associate Editor David Tanner contributed to this report.

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