New York Thruway postpones vote on toll increases, again

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 11/9/2012

At the last minute on Friday, the New York Thruway’s board of directors postponed a meeting that many believed included a vote on the agency’s controversial 45 percent toll increase for trucks. The media took the pressure up a notch on Thursday after the Thruway agency refused to disclose the contents of the meeting agenda. Officials moved the meeting to Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Many have criticized the timing of the planned meeting – the Friday following a major election and with New York recovering from a devastating hurricane and winter storm. And while the agency has not disclosed the reason for postponing the meeting, public pressure and storm recovery could certainly be factors.

Truckers have been critical of the toll proposal since May, when a consulting firm hired by the Thruway to develop a plan declared that trucks weren’t paying their fair share.

According to the consultants’ report, commercial vehicles make up 10 percent of the traffic on the Thruway but account for 40 percent of the agency’s revenue. Truckers pay an average of 23.5 cents a mile in tolls on the Thruway. A toll from Buffalo to New York City currently costs $88. A 45 percent increase would make the same trip cost $127.

Truckers also point out that the state of New York collects one of the highest fuel taxes in the nation at 40 cents per gallon.

As of Friday afternoon, the Thruway agency was not saying whether the toll proposal would be on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Eastern in Albany.

Just a few months ago, the Thruway agency indicated that the toll increase would be a done deal and take effect Nov. 1. The Thruway board even had a meeting scheduled for Sept. 11 in Albany, but that meeting was postponed without a reason given.

Truckers have been hoping that the postponements mean the agency is thinking long and hard about whether to hit truckers and businesses with a 45 percent increase.

See related story:
NY Thruway refuses to say if toll increases are subject of meeting

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