Truckers call out Thruway brass over toll plan

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 11/13/2012

The cancellation of a third public meeting since September has truckers wondering if public and political pressure is getting to the New York State Thruway Authority on a plan to raise truck tolls 45 percent. OOIDA is calling out Thruway officials about the increases, saying now is not the time to increase costs for trucking businesses.

The Thruway’s board of directors canceled a meeting Tuesday, Nov. 13 – a meeting that more than likely pertained to voting on the increase proposal. The agency has refused to disclose the topic of its meetings despite requests from the public, the media and lawmakers. It’s the second time since Friday and the third time since September that the agency has canceled a meeting that could have contained a vote on the increases.

The Thruway Authority first floated the truck-only toll increase in May after a consulting firm said trucks did not pay their fair share in relation to wear and tear on the roadways. Officials initially targeted an effective date of Nov. 1 for the increases, but pushback has been enormous from truckers, business groups and elected officials.

Truckers continue to be motivated against the increases despite a virtual obstacle course laid out by the agency – one that has included a lack of accommodations and truck parking at public hearings in August and a repeated refusal by the agency to disclose the contents of its meeting agendas.

OOIDA has pulled no punches in calling out Thruway brass.

“Multiple management reviews have shown the Thruway Authority to be no more than modern day robber barons as one of the most wasteful tolling authorities in the nation,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said Tuesday.

“They are trying to mask their bureaucratic inefficiencies and mismanagement by dumping it at the feet of hard-working men and women who are already paying significant portions of their own family income to use the Thruway,” Spencer said.

“The Authority knows it’s a bad policy and that is why they appear to be attempting to sneak this in under the public and media radar.”

Truckers are not alone in opposition. The state farm bureau, manufacturers and businesses, along with the New York Motor Truck Association, formed a coalition to fight the increase. State lawmakers have also called out the agency in the press and at town hall meetings.

Copyright © OOIDA