In a late-breaking development on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Thruway announced they were scrapping a proposed 45 percent toll increase on trucks. OOIDA has not seen the final plan, but credits truckers for standing their ground against the toll tax increase.
Truckers and businesses began raising hell last May when a Thruway consultant insinuated that trucks weren’t paying their fair share to use the roadway. Public pressure escalated a short time later when the Thruway board officially proposed raising truck tolls 45 percent.
OOIDA members managed to attend public hearings on the toll increases during the summer despite the lack of accommodations or truck parking at the hearing sites.
Opposition to the toll increases also came from a coalition of 23 business groups including the New York Motor Truck Association, manufacturers and farmers.
The Thruway board went through with its scheduled meeting on Monday, Dec. 17, but not before Gov. Cuomo announced publicly that he and the agency had worked out an alternative funding plan that did not require a toll increase. Sources said the plan would involve cost-cutting and attrition for open positions at the Thruway. A Cuomo spokesperson was preparing a statement as of press time.
Truckers say the increase would have crippled businesses because the current full-length toll of $88 on the Thruway from Buffalo to New York City would have increased to $127.
“Though we have not yet seen the final details of their plan, the Thruway Authority and the governor seem to have made the right call for truckers, the traveling public and New York’s economy,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.
“Thanks in part to OOIDA members like Lou Esposito, Terry Button and many others, the Thruway Authority and the governor heard the insights and concerns of the trucking community loud and clear.”
In related Thruway news, the board approved a $3.1 billion replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge on Monday. The bridge will take five years to build by a group led by Fluor Enterprises. Officials say a large portion of the bridge’s funding will come from tolls.
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